Wouter Verstraaten has told of his delight after putting pen to paper on a new contract at South Shields.
The Dutchman made 14 appearances for the Mariners last season after joining from Consett in January.
The PSV Eindhoven Academy graduate impressed in a number of roles and attracted the attention of a number of clubs higher up the football pyramid, but has opted to commit his future to Shields after extensive discussions.
Verstraaten said: “I am very happy to have signed this deal, as it took a while before we finally got it done.
“I am very pleased that South Shields have shown their confidence in me during these unprecedented times.
“Ever since I joined the team in January, I have felt the professionalism and will to win this league.
“That this didn’t happen last season was obviously a very disappointing moment for the whole club, but I feel that we are very motivated to make things right next season.
“That is one of the many reasons I have signed with South Shields.”
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that the Shields squad has not been together since the memorable 5-3 victory over FC United of Manchester on March 14th.
Motivation among the players remains high, though, and Verstraaten is eagerly awaiting the day football returns and he can play in front of the Mariners Park faithful again.
He added: “I feel that it is the right place for me to grow as a player and improve in areas that will help me perform to a higher level.
“It is a pleasure to play in front of such a big crowd every week. There are not many places where the stage is set every weekend like it is at South Shields.
“I’m currently back in the Netherlands staying fit and spending some time with my family and I’m in regular contact with the management, but we just have to wait to see when the Government allows us to get back together.”
The club’s full retained list following the completion of the 2019-20 season will be announced on Tuesday morning.
Academy graduate Will Jenkins has committed his future to South Shields after signing his first senior contract with the club.
The exciting midfielder made a real impression during the 2019-20 season and scored a stunning goal on his first league start for the senior team in last December’s win over Radcliffe.
His ability, maturity and drive to succeed have impressed everyone at the club, as has his ability to deal with the added pressure of playing for the first-team.
Jenkins’ progression further underlines the clear pathways from the 16-19 Academy at Mariners Park.
He is the fourth Academy graduate to have signed a senior contract within the last year and he will enter the 2020-21 season with 12 senior appearances already to his name, along with two goals.
Jenkins – who turned 18 last month – said: “I’m delighted to have been rewarded for a good season with a contract at first-team level.
“My time in the Academy has helped me massively and I feel like I’ve progressed a lot over the last two years.
“Last season it was great to have the first-team captain Jon Shaw as my coach and Wess Brown has been a fantastic influence too.
“The Academy try to play in the same manner as the first-team and that helps a lot when you make that step up.
“I’m looking forward to trying to push on again next season and hope to become a regular.
“I’m also thankful to Graham Fenton and Lee Picton for the faith they are showing in me and the way they have helped and continue to help with the step up.”
Jenkins has been part of SSFC Academy since the summer of 2018 and was a star of last season’s historic run to the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
The young Mariners defeated the likes of Hartlepool United, Morecambe and Harrogate Town to reach round three for the first time in the club’s history, with Jenkins proving to be a constant goal threat.
He is now the second member of that team to have been rewarded for his progression with a senior contract after Sam Hodgson put pen to paper earlier this year.
Further announcements regarding the future of first-team players will be made over the next 24 hours.
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a highly motivated, skilled and experienced football coach to join the team responsible for delivering and continually developing our Futures Academy programme.
This is a full-time position working initially with players within the U12-U14 age groups, and with the potential to contribute towards older age groups in the future.
The Futures Academy operates in partnership with education provider Mortimer Community College, a partnership which offers aspirational young footballers from age 11 a comprehensive five-year ‘football in education’ experience.
We are looking for a forward-thinking and ambitious coach to enhance our coaching team.
Please read full details about the role – and how to apply for it – by clicking here.
The closing date for applications is Friday, June 19, 2020.