Departing Faversham teenager Benedict Bioletti hopes his rise through the club’s ranks and into the professional game has helped him put the Lilywhites on the map.
Right-sided player Bioletti has signed for League 2 Colchester as he moves away from the Salters Lane outfit he has played for since he was just four.
The 17-year-old had made 38 competitive first-team appearances - a remarkable feat for someone so young - having made his bow in an FA Trophy win over Hertford in 2020.
He had been in regular contact with staff at Colchester throughout the second-half of last season and did enough to earn a professional contract.
“I’m pleased, I’ve just got to keep working,” said Bioletti who is from Newnham, between Faversham and Sittingbourne, and who turns 18 in July.
“Obviously I went on trial and - because I’m under 18 - my dad sorted that out.
“Without the two years of playing for the first-team, it would not have happened.
“I’m glad how it happened, I’m glad I got spotted playing for Faversham.
"It gets them in the spotlight and helps to put Faversham Town on the map, which I’m happy about.”
Bioletti earned his deal with the Essex club having played for their under-18 and under-23 teams.
He explained: “I had a showcase [game] with 30 or 40 players. They then invited me to train. The number of trialists was getting smaller and smaller.
“They asked me to play for the 18s and I probably played about six games for the 23s as well.
“[After the] last game of the season, they called me about an hour after and said they would like to offer me a contract.”
Bioletti first broke into Town’s senior set-up under former manager James Collins as a midfielder, but has since largely deputised at right-back.
“When I first played for Faversham, I was right-back. But I was a lot quicker than most so I went right wing,” said the former Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School student.
“I stayed there [through the youth ranks] and I got picked up by the first-team as a winger.
“At Colchester, I think I will be right-back but wing-back is maybe my best position because it’s a bit of both.”
Bioletti follows in the footsteps of defender Jack Baldwin, who left Faversham in 2011 for Hartlepool, with Bioletti likely to initially feature for Colchester’s under-23s having moved into the area this week.
“It’s kind of set me up nicely,” Bioletti admitted, when asked how his early exposure to first-team football had helped him.
“In the games I played in Colchester’s 23s, I didn’t come up against anyone bigger or quicker than when I played in the first-team.
“It’s helped me a lot, playing men’s football.
"There’s lots of coaches that helped me, as well, too many to mention them individually, to be honest.”
Long-serving club secretary Wendy Walker has decided to stand down at the club.
But on the field, the Lilywhites have continued their rebuild, recently bringing in midfielder Connor Wilkins, along with defenders Simon Kabamba, Danny Devine and Danny Rumbol.