Dave Goodchild has paid tribute to a quartet of departing stars as Team Northumbria’s top talents prepare for a tilt at professional volleyball.
Northumbria University’s groundbreaking volleyball programme has become a metaphor for excellence on and off the court.
And Goodchild admitted that a trophy-laden past five years have put his top performing players in the shop window.
“I’m not surprised that a number of the guys have clinched professional contracts this summer,” he said.
“I always encourage my players to be the best that they can be and I will never stand in the way of anyone looking to reach the next level.
“Losing these players means we’re having to rebuild the men’s team this year but I can’t complain.
“To have four guys signing professional contracts only enhances the reputation of Northumbria’s volleyball programme.”
Andy Clayton has signed for German Division Two club Bitterfeld-Wolfen and Sam Shenton has inked a deal with French side Bellaing Porte Du Hainaut.
Alex Jenkins was snapped up by Swedish club Vingaker VK and Ryan Heath has moved to Egypt to teach English and play volleyball.
“I would have happily retained the services of all of those guys and I had plans in place to do just that,” added Goodchild.
“But I encouraged them to sign full-time contracts if the opportunity was there and they’ve all achieved that goal.
“I will keep in touch with them and watch their careers with interest. The door will always be open shoud they want to come back to Northumbria!”
Goodchild oversaw both his men’s and women’s team this weekend as Northumbria took part in exhibition matches against England Juniors.
The club’s BUCS and Super 8s seasons get underway next month.