Maggie Shaw admits some adjustments have been easier than others as the American settles into a new way of life in Newcastle. The Australian heat this week was a shock for the South Carolina 23-year-old, and "learning to drive on the other side of the road" has been a challenge. But the athletic centre-back has quickly embraced the way Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond is encouraging her to play. Shaw brings speed and an aerial presence to the Jets back line and is likely to have a licence to drive forward in attack as well during her first A-League Women's campaign. "I feel like it is a huge part of my playing, going up and getting forward," Shaw told the Newcastle Herald. "Some coaches don't want centre-backs to do it, want us to stay at home and be sole defenders, but Gary definitely encourages it so it's really refreshing. "It has been a bit of a learning curve, trying to get used to being OK going forward, but he definitely encourages that style of play." The Jets are in the second week of a five-week pre-season and this weekend head to Tamworth, where they will play Central Coast in a trial match on Sunday. Newcastle open their 2023-24 A-League campaign against the Mariners in Gosford on October 14. Shaw joins the Jets after four-and-a-half years at the University of Tennessee in NCAA Division 1 Southern Conference then a campaign with Chattanooga Red Wolves in the pre-professional USL W League. The qualified nurse was keen to play abroad and jumped at the opportunity when the Jets expressed interest. "I'd actually been to Newcastle before. I came in January," Shaw said. "My twin sister Samantha lives here, so we backpacked Australia for a month and I stayed in Newcastle for two days. "I love it. I love the beaches. I love Nobbys Lighthouse, the whole downtown area ... and, the A-League is such a good conference to be in too, especially after the World Cup. It's such a good time to be in Australia, to be in women's soccer." The Jets leaked a league-worst 53 goals in 18 appearances last season. This year, under van Egmond, they are eyeing a top-six finish and finals in an expanded 12-team, 22-round competition. Only twice have the Jets played finals - in 2008 and 2017-18. About 178 centimetres tall, Shaw's height will be welcome in defence. Van Egmond has also added Swiss fullback Lorena Baumann and American goalkeeper Izzy Nino. Shaw, Baumann and Nino are living together in Wallsend with two other Jets recruits in New Zealand midfielder Rebecca Burrows and lethal former Melbourne Victory striker Melina Ayres. Experienced left-back Gema Simon and midfielder Libby Copus-Brown are back where their A-League careers began after plying their trade elsewhere. Captain and midfielder Cassidy Davis plus forwards Lauren Allan and Lara Gooch have been re-signed. MORE IN SPORT: Shaw's goals, other than mastering driving in Australia, include growth as a footballer. "Just increasing the level of play that I'm able to achieve, feeling confident and playing professional soccer, and just forming really good connections with the girls," Shaw said. In a special tribute to her father David, who played 769 games in an established NHL career, Shaw will wear No.34 for the Jets. "Whenever I was going pro, I was wondering if I should have a number change because I've been three for as long as I can remember," Shaw said. "My dad has always been very supportive of me continuing my professional career as an athlete. Growing up, I always looked up to him because he was able to reach the highest level of hockey. When I was asked what number I wanted, I said, 'I think I'm going to take 34'. "I got a picture taken of me at practice and had my number on my jersey and sent it in my family group chat and didn't really give any other context. "He comes off as a hockey guy. He's big and he's strong and huge build but he is literally the softest guy when it comes to his daughters, and he has four daughters. I definitely know he shed a tear." The Jets' first home game will be a double-header with their male counterparts against Western Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium on November 5. No other home game venues have been confirmed in the draw.