A report from the Sunderland Echo has claimed that Dutch defender Wouter Verstraaten has turned down the chance to sign for League One side Sunderland, instead opting to remain with non-league side South Shields.
Northern Premier League Premier Division side South Sheilds had promotion snatched out of their hands this year, as their campaign was brought to a premature end with the club sat at the top of the table.
While the news of the end of their season will still be sore, the non-league side have been provided with some positive news. Dutchman Wouter Verstraaten has pledged his future to the club, reportedly turning down the chance to join Sunderland in order to remain with the club.
Sunderland brought Verstraaten – formerly of PSV Eindhoven’s youth academy – in on trial earlier this season, offering him a deal with the club. But, despite the Black Cats’ continued interest, he has opted to stay with South Shields. Verstraaten spoke to the club’s official website upon the announcement, saying:
“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.”
Verstraaten went on to explain more reasons behind his decision to stay with South Shields, saying he believes it is the right place for him to continue to develop while carrying on with his University studies.
Verstraaten spent time in the PSV youth academy, featuring for their academy sides before leaving in July 2015. Since then, the 23-year-old went on to play for the likes of FC Eindhoven, Pacific Tigers, Portland Timbers’ Under-23s and VV Geldrop before moving to England, where he joined Consett AFC. After a short stint with Consett, he joined South Shields in January, going on to play 14 times for the club.