Hoffman living World Cup dream

When Jason Hoffman underwent knee surgery 11 months ago, the FIFA U-20 World Cup flashed before the Newcastle Jet striker’s eyes.

When Jason Hoffman underwent knee surgery 11 months ago, the FIFA U-20 World Cup flashed before the Newcastle Jet striker-s eyes.

But a dedicated rehab and some faith from his club slashed his recovery time, enabling him to return to the pitch within seven months.

So with an Asian Champions League campaign under his belt and a solid start to the Hyundai A-League season with two goals in five games, Hoffman-s not only happy to be in Egypt but confident of a solid showing.

“I just can-t wait to start playing and doing well for my country,-- Hoffman told footballaustralia.com.au.

“When I had the operation last October the World Cup was always in the back of my mind. I thought will be fit enough? And if I miss qualifiers will the coach Jan (Versleijen) forget about me?

“But I just remained positive, worked hard and I always believed I could get back in.

“I was also nervous because there-s a lot of quality going round, but after I returned I felt I did well at the start of the Hyundai A-League season and Jan said after our last camp, we have to go back to our clubs and do well and that will impact his decision.

“To get selected in the end was a big thrill.--

Hoffman, who will wear the no.9 shirt for the Qantas Young Socceroos, said it does still seem “a bit surreal-- to be traveling to Egypt 2009.

“In a sense it-s surreal, the fact that I-m going to a major competition against the best players in this age group, but we-re a good side and we know we deserve to be here so we-re really looking forward to the tournament,-- he said.

“It sunk in on the plane coming over here, that this can be a big turning in a young person-s career if you prepare yourself well enough and you-re mentally focused on getting a job done for your country.

“I remember watching the Qantas Socceroos play in the World Cup and realising the importance of major tournaments - now I-m playing in one.

“Playing with guys like Stuart Musialik, my old teammate at Newcastle Jets, also helps. He spoke about playing at the Under 20 World Cup in 2005."

The 189cm striker played a part in the Olyroos- Beijing 2008 qualification campaign and that, coupled with his Asian experience, holds him in good stead for Egypt 2009. Having started in two of the Qantas Young Socceroos- lead up matches, he-s hoping to start in their opener against Czech Republic on 28 September (kick off at 0245 AEST).

“I-m looking to secure that number one striking role and it-s a very important position in the team,-- said Hoffman, who-s played 25 A-League games for the Jets.

“You-re required to create things and try and score and if not, try and retain possession when you can be quite isolated and outnumbered and it-s the first line of defence.

“Some new guys have come in and done well like Chris Herd from Aston Villa and Sean Rooney, my Newcastle teammate. So it-s a challenge but it-s good that the competition-s there because you know you have to be at the top of your game.

"But the preparation-s been brilliant. It really started in Vietnam two years ago where we did quite well and we-ve many tours away since - I can-t see why the team and the coaching staff wouldn-t be confident of getting out of the group stage.--

The Qantas Young Socceroos then play Costa Rica (30 September) before concluding the group stage against Brazil (3 October).