Westfield FFA Cup striker Jai Ingham is relishing life with Cup quarter-finalists Hume City while his fashion and modelling pursuits continue to keep him busy.
The 22-year-old livewire winger works at sneaker outlet Platypus in Melbourne and he has a modelling agent (J&R Management) who book him for various gigs.
It keeps the photogenic former Brisbane-based forward busy while he negotiates evening training sessions with Lou Acevski’s FFA Cup hopefuls.
And Ingham looms as a Cup dangerman.
He scored the opener against Melbourne Victory in last week’s friendly at ABD Stadium, Hume’s impressive home ground. And with Theo Markelis, Marcus Schroen and Daniel Clark, it’s a potent attack to work off.
Only losing 4-3 to the Hyundai A-League champions has given Hume a huge boost ahead of the biggest match in the club’s history when they face Oakleigh Cannons in the FFA Cup quarters next Tuesday night.
“A huge amount of confidence,” Ingham said of the Victory match. “To be leading 3-2 into the 90th minute was huge against the best club in Australia.
“For us to do that, we were very happy. They scored twice in the last few minutes... that’s what happens when you play big clubs that have quality strikers such as Besart Berisha,” Ingham told www.theffacup.com.au
Ingham and Berisha were Roar teammates when Ingham was a youth team player at the A-League club (he cracked a first team appearance in early 2014 for Roar before joining Hume this year).
“Training with Besart at Brisbane was unbelievable. He’s a very passionate player and he gets the best out of players and that’s all he wants," said Ingham, who also played for Olympic FC in Brisbane.
“He’s the best striker in the A-League and to learn from him was even better.”
Originally from Byron Bay, Ingham moved to the PS4 NPL Victoria because of the professionalism of the clubs. Hume clearly has that with a $12m facility, strong financial backing and a superb playing and training surface.
It’s a growing club being supercharged by their FFA Cup exploits.
“I love it here. Hume have treated me well and they have beautiful facilities. And it makes you happy, and a lot of the players here [in Victoria] get paid very good money. Which helps for the professionalism.
“And all the boys get along, the squad have a lot of depth and we push each other at training to improve. With players like Nick Hegarty, Marcus [Schroen] Shaun Timmins...
“Everyone wants to make the A-League but at the moment I’m just playing for my club and get us as far as we can. If something comes along, it comes along," said Ingham, who grew up playing his football in and around Byron Bay.
As for game day next week, it’ll be like most part-time FFA Cup footballers. Working during the day while dreaming of being a Cup hero at night.
“I’ll finish a little earlier. I like being on my feet all day. I love my job and football. I get the best of both worlds,” explained Hume's FFA Cup striker.