Worthing Football Club manager Gary Elphick admits Will Hendon will be a big loss to his side.
The 22-year-old full-back informed Elphick yesterday that he would not be signing a new contract at Woodside Road.
Hendon, who spent last week at Leicester forward Jamie Vardy's V9 Academy, is hoping to play at a higher level.
Elphick believes the flying full-back will be missed but wished him all the best for the future.
He said: "It's a real shame to lose Will but he wants to play at a higher level, so good luck to him.
"I'm gutted he's not decided to sign a new contract, he's been a great servant to the club and had some great times here.
"I think another year with us would have done him no harm, we're a team looking to go places and he could have remained part of that."
Hendon's departure leaves Worthing a little light defensively. Centre-back Corey Heath joined National League South rivals Bognor last month, while Hendon has now joined Heath through the exit door.
Tom Cadman still harbours hopes of signing for a pro club following his release from Brighton & Hove Albion, plus Jack Cook has a week-long trial with National League Aldershot Town next month.
Despite currently lacking defensive options, Elphick has told fans not to be concerned.
He added: "I'm hoping to add a couple of defenders come the end of this week. We've got Matt Boiling and Henry Watson here aswell, who I'll be looking to give more of a chance next season.
"I'm talking to players, particularly defenders all the time, what I'd say to the fans is watch this space."
Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.worthingherald.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Worthing.news
3) Follow us on Twitter @Worthing_Herald
4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!
The Worthing Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.