Carshalton Athletic defender Charlie McCarthy has left Colston Avenue after taking up an offer he could not refuse.
The 24-year-old is following Lewis Taylor out the Robins door as boss Stuart Massey prepares for the new season in Ryman Division One South.
However, McCarthy is not joining a Ryman League rival – Taylor has moved to Margate – instead, he is dropping two divisions to work in the Kent Invicta League as the new first-team coach/player of Eltham Palace.
He said: “I’ve always had a passion for coaching and management so I made sure, when it became clear I would not have a professional playing career, it was a path I could explore.
“I now have this great opportunity to test myself.”
McCarthy already has his UEFA B coaching licence and he was part of the Millwall Lionesses management staff before joining Carshalton last season, and he says he is more than looking forward to his new challenge.
“I’ve been working at Eltham for two weeks and the turn-out for pre-season has been encouraging,” he said.
“I understand the logistical requirements of the job, but I’m relishing the fact everything to do with the first team will rest on my shoulders.”
The young manager will not be working alone, however, as his uncle Chris, who has previously managed Beckenham Town, has been named his assistant.
“We’ll be able to bounce ideas off each other and he’ll also be my eyes when I’m out playing on the pitch,” McCarthy added.
The defender made 22 appearances for Carshalton last season and he credits former Robins boss Ian Hazel for helping him rediscover his passion for the game.
“I had not played seriously for a year before Ian asked me to join up with him last December,” he explains.
“My time at Carshalton restored my love for football and I’m grateful to him for that. Our season didn’t end positively, but I would have stayed had an opportunity like Eltham not come up.
“I’m fully focused on my new club, but I do wish Carshalton and its fans all the best for their new season.”
l Carshalton have added an away trip to Egham Town on August 2 to its pre-season friendly programme.