Tonbridge new boy Fyn Rutherford turned down the chance to go back on trial at Gillingham to earn a deal at Longmead.
The 17-year-old striker has signed for the Angels after impressing manager Jay Saunders in pre-season.
Saunders coached Rutherford at Soccer Elite and gave him his first taste of senior football at Margate last season.
A debut goal against Gillingham in the Kent Senior Cup earned a trial at Priestfield and they were keen to have another look.
“I liked what I saw of him at Soccer Elite, so I took him to Margate and started using him,” said Saunders.
“He scored on his debut against Gillingham, and went on trial with them, and they wanted another look at him at the end of the season but he felt it wasn’t the right move at the moment.
“I said to come along with me to Tonbridge for pre-season and he’s done really well.
"He’s only 17 but we’ll keep him in and around it and maybe at the start of the season, if he’s not getting minutes, we’ll look to loan him out.
“He’s got a lot of ability and a good future.
“He’s gone from college football to National South in a year-and-a-half, which is a big jump, but he’s a good kid.
“It always says something when young players are accepted into the group like he has been.
“Tom Parkinson hadn’t seen him before but he said he’s got a lot of ability, and he’s shown it.
“We’ve got a lot of good young players. Joe Tyrie is another one we’ve signed on again.
“When the job here became available I went to St Albans to watch the last game of the season and Joe kept Shaun Jeffers quiet, who was the top scorer in the league.
“He impressed me that day and he’s done well in pre-season. He’s only 18 and he’s got the potential to be a good centre-half.
"There’s a right-back as well, Leo Vowles, and Ben Hermitage is another one. I’ve always been one for giving young players a chance and if they do well, they’ll play.”
Lewis Gard struck in a 1-1 draw at Cray Wanderers last Saturday, while Tommie Fagg scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Corinthian on Tuesday night as Tonbridge continued preparations for the new season.
“I’m really pleased with how things are going,” said Saunders.
“In general, our fitness levels have looked good, we’ve done a lot of rotating, giving everyone minutes.
“Moving forward, we’ve got four more games and we’ll kind of knuckle down and start giving longer minutes.
“I’m still after one or two players, definitely one, but we won’t have many trialists around now unless I really think they’re going to add to us.
“It was a good test at Corinthian, they’re a good young side with loads of energy, but we mixed it up, had a look at two formations and it gave us a chance to learn more about people.
"Tommie Fagg scored a really good goal as well.
“The first couple of sessions he looked a little bit nervous, he only knew Ben Swift and he’s stepping up a couple of leagues, but he was excellent on Tuesday and his confidence is growing as he gets into it.”
Tonbridge are off to Yorkshire this weekend, where they’ll take on National North side Farsley Celtic, followed by a squad night out.
“We’re having a pre-match meal and the boys will go out for a bit of team-bonding after the game," said Saunders.
“To be fair, it was the club’s idea to go away and I really appreciate them doing these things away from the pitch."
Meanwhile, excellent progress is being made on Tonbridge's 3G pitch, 10 weeks into the project, which also includes new perimeter fencing, floodlights and dugouts.
The last base layer is going down, this will be followed by a 25mm shock-pad layer and finally the grass carpet itself.
The project has been funded by the Angels Investors scheme, together with a number of small grants.