JED Smith has departed Concord Rangers after bagging a scholarship in the United States of America.

The full-back, who came through the Beach Boys’ youth system, has secured a place at the South Carolina-based Lander University.

And Smith admitted it was a tough decision to leave the Aspect Arena.

Smith said: “I have loved every season of my time at Concord Rangers, all the way from the under-sixes.

“I’m sad to be leaving such a great club.

“But I’m also excited for a new venture and to test myself in the States.”

Danny Scopes, who took over as Concord boss last month, has known Smith for a number of years.

And, while he is disappointed to not have the teenager as an option in the forthcoming campaign, Scopes is excited to see Smith flourish in a new challenge.

Scopes said: “I’m gutted to be losing Jed for next season.

“He has been a real success story for Concord Rangers and has made 50 plus appearances at National League South level after coming all the way from our under-sixes to the first team.

“He is a true inspiration to any young player within the club.

“As a club, we are working hard with the youth sections from a young age to try and find more Jed Smiths that we can bring through to the first team.

“It would be a major asset to the club to create our own players from within Concord.

“This is a target we have set as a club and we will - 100 per cent - support them and try to promote from within when ready.”

Smith was able to seal a move to the United States of America thanks to support from JB Elite.

And Jon Brandon, who runs the company, believes Smith could prove crucial as Lander University look to win silverware.

Brandon said: “It was an honour to place Jed.

“He is a talented young player with an attitude to match.

“He had the pick of three or four top universities.

“In the end, he chose Lander University in South Carolina.

“They are one of the favourites for the National Collegiate Athletic Association title this year and he will be pivotal to their success.

“Jed was part of a successful Seevic programme, which I am now working closely with to offer a pathway from college to the US soccer system.

“Head coach Steve Roberts was also over the moon that Jed had secured such an amazing opportunity through JB Elite.”