Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders has extended the contract of academy player Jack Richards.
The 18-year-old earned his first deal a year ago after impressing the Stones boss with his performances in the National League Youth Alliance.
After loan spells at East Grinstead and Sevenoaks Town, he returned to the club in April and made substitute appearances in the games against promoted clubs Forest Green Rovers and Lincoln City.
Jay said: “Jack’s time at the academy is coming to an end but his time with the club is far from over. He’s come on a lot over the last year and the experience of men’s football at East Grinstead and Sevenoaks has done him the world of good.
“He’s definitely one for the future and being in and around the squad, training three times a week with them, will only help him further.
“It’s great to see a lad come through our youth teams and into the first team – it’s something as a club we’re keen to see. He’s here on merit and hopefully he’ll use this opportunity to push on and show me what he can do.”
Richards joined the Stones at the age of 12 and was part of one the club’s most successful Kent Youth League sides in recent years.
Speaking at the end of last season, Jack said: “I’ve been at Maidstone since the under 13s and all I want to do is play here. People talk about playing in the big leagues but I want to be playing for Maidstone United and that’s the aim at the minute.
“I never imagined when I joined the club that I’d end up playing for them in the Conference. I came over from a local club – Real 60 – that all my mates played for and we ended up as Maidstone and won the league every year. It’s been a good five or six years.”