Local lad Leon Legge has earned a professional contract with Coca-Cola League One club Brentford.
The Bees announced on Wednesday afternoon, the day of Legge's 24th birthday, that the big central defender had signed a one-year deal with a further one-year option.
He told brentfordfc.co.uk: "I've wanted to make the step up to league football for years. I've had plenty of trials over the years and it's brilliant that now I've achieved this."
Legge was a pupil at Bexhill High School and then Bexhill College where he was part of the squad which reached a national quarter-final in 2003, eventually losing to a team from Coventry run by former Coventry City, Norwich City and Wales midfielder David Phillips.
Jeremy Wassell, who managed that Bexhill College team with Dave Brown and was Legge's form tutor, said: "I'm not surprised at all that he's been given a pro contract. I'm very, very pleased for him and hopefully he will make a go of it.
"My main memory of Leon is when we played in the county final at Eastbourne against BHASVIC. We needed to push on to try to get something out of the game and he ended up defending on his own - he was that good."
Legge spent some six years with the highly successful youth section at Little Common FC and club chairman Ken Cherry said: "It's great news, he deserves it because he's such a dedicated lad. If there had been training five times a week, he would have been there." He also represented Sidley United in the under-18 age group.
Legge starred for Sussex County League Division One side Hailsham Town before moving up the grades to Lewes, with whom he won the Blue Square South title in 2007-08.
"He's such a big, strong guy, but also very, very quick across the ground," continued Wassell.
"He was always a very, very impressive player and he's such a nice lad as well. He would always come over, say hello and ask how we were after he left college."
Legge spent last season at Tonbridge Angels, making 39 appearances and scoring 10 goals for a team which finished third in the Premier Division of the Ryman League.
He is now looking forward to playing against the likes of Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, Norwich and Southampton as Brentford seek to consolidate last season's promotion.