A FORMER Sunderland University student is returning to the football league.
Nick Liversedge, 24, a former Darlington FC goalkeeper, has signed for Championship club Burnley on a one-year contract following a successful trial.
The Hull-born goalkeeper was a University of Sunderland student, before the manager of the university’s 1st XI and former Sunderland AFC captain Gary Bennett recommended him to Darlington FC.
He then left the University to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
After three years at Darlington in the Football League, he left the club and has most recently been playing for semi-professional Whitby Town FC, who are managed by ex-Sunderland defender, Darren Williams.
Nick joined the University after completing a youth contract at Stevenage Borough and was part of the University’s successful first team during his student years.
Nick said: “Since I left Darlington, I’ve been dreaming of becoming a professional footballer and doing as much as I can to make it happen.
“It really is a dream come true, and I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone-call telling me the news.
“When I joined the University we had a very good side, with many playing in the Northern League and Gary Bennett got me a trial at Darlington.
“Without the University I probably wouldn’t have made it in professional football in 2007 and it was a great experience. I never thought I’d make it in professional football through the academic route and Gary has been very supportive of me ever since.”
After regular training sessions at the Clarets under Eddie Howe before he left the club and the current manager Sean Dyche, Nick has agreed a one-year contract with the club, with the option of a further year.
Liversedge from Beverley, Yorkshire, is believed to have impressed goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer, and he will be looking to impress with Lee Grant and Brian Jensen both leaving the club in the summer, and Jon Stewart also out of contract.
Nick added: “I can’t wait to get started and make the best of my opportunities to be the best I can be. It’s going to be hard, but if I can impress Burnley and play well, then it’ll all be worth it.”