Kingston-born goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski will realise a dream this summer when he embarks on a first foray into the world of professional football.

The 20-year-old has signed for Hartlepool United of League Two following completion of his sports science degree at Durham University.

United finished 16th in the table last season, and boast Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling among their fanbase.

Dudzinski, who has turned out for Carshalton Athletic and Kingstonian and who continued playing both semi-professional and university football outside of his studies, is relishing the next chapter in his career.

“My degree finishes before the end of May so, as of that point, I’ll be able to fully concentrate on my football,” he said.

“I’m really excited to sign as the club has been great to me so far and I’m looking forward to pre-season starting soon.”

The move came after Hartlepool goalkeeping coach Tony Caig, whom saw something in Dudzinski during coaching sessions he gave at the university, invited the youngster along for trails towards the end of last season.

“I trained, took part in some sessions and played in a reserve game during that time,” added Dudzinski.

“I just thought it would be a good experience and, on my last day, I was preparing to ask Tony if we could stay in touch.

"Instead he sent me to the manager [former Middlesbrough and Barnsley midfielder Craig Hignett] and that’s when I found out.”

And, in the aftermath, the move sparked a memory within Dudzinski of his time at Ryman Division South club Carshalton Athletic, where had he spent two years and made a handful of first team appearances.

“I recalled a conversation with [former Robins goalkeeping coach] Jefferson Curtis while I was considering moving to Durham,” he said.

“He felt I had potential to play at a higher level, but told me that going to university would be important, and that I’d still be young enough to pursue a career in football afterwards.

“My time at Carshalton has played a massive part in helping me get where I am now – I made my competitive debut while there and I’ll always be thankful to the coaching staff for helping to build my confidence.”