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Durham University

Durham University News

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Post Graduate student Wouter Verstraaten signs professional contract for South Shields

(22 May 2020)

Post Graduate business school student of Grey College, Wouter Verstraaten, has proved there is a strong performance pathway for students transitioning into full-time football, as the Dutchman signed a new contract for South Shields earlier this week. 

Verstraaten came to England in September as a postgraduate sport scholar, in order to represent the university football team whilst completing his Master’s degree.

Through connections of the men’s university football club, Verstraaten joined Northern League side Consett for the first part of the season. He then joined South Shields in January, going on to make 14 appearances for the Mariners in the remainder of the season. The Durham student and DUAFC defender impressed in a number of roles whilst at Shields and attracted the attention of various clubs higher up the football pyramid, before choosing to secure his future with Shields for the foreseeable.

Verstraaten has been an integral part of a very successful men’s football programme whilst being at Durham. The Men’s 1st team secured a quarter final BUCS place and finished 4th in an extremely competitive league, the 2s held their place in Northern Tier 3, whilst the 3s earned their 3rd consecutive promotion.

Verstraaten is not the only DUAFC player to have graduated from Durham and gone onto achieve a contract in recent years, solidifying the fact that Durham provides a great performance pathway into the professional game.

Durham alumni who secured full-time contracts in football upon graduating include Jonny Giles who signed for Oxford United, goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski who signed professional terms with Hartlepool United and Tom Isola who represented Gibraltar’s U21 side, competing in the U21 European Championships. Meanwhile, other graduates have secured full sport scholarships at D1 Colleges in the USA to complete their postgraduate degrees.

Football at Durham


Durham University has six performance football teams; three men’s and three women’s, with both 1st teams competing in the BUCS Northern Premier League, the highest level of university football.

Both the men’s and the women’s programmes receive full-time coaching provision and benefit from Team Durham’s excellent performance sport services, including; S&C, physiotherapy, performance analysis, nutrition advice and psychological support.

Moreover, the women’s football programme at Durham enjoys an excellent relationship with Durham Women FC, who compete in the WSL Championship. A number of current and former students represent the side in the second tier of English women’s football.


Durham’s extensive inter mural programme gives more players the opportunity to participate in training and matches. All of our colleges field multiple teams and we boast the largest football participation programme in Europe.

More information

Please follow the clubs on social media and take a look at our web pages:

Men’s Football
Twitter: @DUAFC
Instagram: @duafc_
Facebook: @Durham University Men’s Football

Women’s Football
Twitter: @duwafc1
Instagram: @duwafc
Facebook: @Durham University Women’s Association Football Club

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