MANAGER Paul Smith continued his summer shopping after capturing former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Joe Ward on contract at Bromsgrove Sporting.
The Rouslers boss has been busy making new additions to his squad prior to the club’s inaugural season in the Midland League Premier Division.
And 20-year-old Ward becomes the third summer signing to agree terms in the space of five days.
Right-sided Jordan Jones joined from Redditch United last Thursday while left-back Josh Quaynor agreed terms to move to the Victoria Ground from last season’s Midland Premier runners-up Coleshill Town on Friday.
Ward, who had a loan spell at Torquay United before leaving the Baggies by mutual consent in January, also becomes the second Sporting player to be put on contract.
Star striker Jason Cowley, who ended the 2016/17 campaign with 42 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions after joining from Redditch United in September last year, entered the Sporting history books after become the club’s first-ever contracted player at the end of January.
“It’s a massive coup for us and it’s a big signal of intent as well,” said Smith.
“Without being disrespectful to myself or Bromsgrove but I did not think for one minute we would manage to bring him in.
“Joe has turned down offers from some big clubs and following a chance call and a few meetings with him, I’m delighted to get it over the line.
“He is chomping at the bit to get going now and wants to knuckle down.”
Ward hit the headlines earlier this month after announcing he would be quitting professional football following his short stay at League Two side Carlisle United after leaving the Baggies.
Speaking exclusively to The Standard, the former Kidderminster Harriers man, who hopes to set up his own business and will be studying for a diploma later this year, said it was a decision which he had mulled over for the last year-and-a-half.
“It was a tough decision because I thought ‘was it right for me?’,” he added.
“When I left WBA by mutual consent and went to Carlisle I thought it would help but the passion was not there and by then I knew professional football was not for me
“I have not fallen out of love for football, I just wanted to be somewhere where I could enjoy the game.
“I used to come down to the Victoria Ground and watch Bromsgrove Rovers so it feels like home.
“I’m itching to get going and I’m really excited to help Sporting strive for success.”