'Unbelievable' opportunity to return to Hawks has revitalised goalkeeper Charlie Searle after twice quitting football
Charlie Searle is back loving his football again and ready to seize on his 'unbelievable' opportunity.
The former Pompey Academy prospect swapped Wessex League Premier Division Baffins Milton Rovers earlier this summer for National League South Hawks.
Searle is currently settling into life at the club where he played earlier in his career and becoming accustomed to three training sessions a week.
As well as battling Ross Worner for the number one jersey this season, the 25-year-old has also taken on the role of goalkeeper coach for Paul Doswell's side.
Indeed, it's quite the turnaround for someone who had stopped playing completely prior to last season having lost his love for the game.
In fact, Searle has twice taken the decision to step away from football - first in the summer of 2019 after a spell at AFC Portchester and then again having return to the game with Bognor.
But it was a call from Baffins assistant boss Danny Thompson last summer which persuaded Searle to get the gloves back on.
Shortly after joining, he was appointed club captain by manager Shaun Wilkinson, featuring 14 times for Rovers in last season's coronavirus pandemic-blighted campaign, and he's now pushing to become a regular for Hawks as they bid to push to reach the National League again this term.
Searle said: ‘I had a bit of a bad time playing-wise and I stopped playing completely and that’s when I went to Baffins at the start of the last lockdown.‘I was enjoying it (at Baffins) but just for other personal reasons it suits me what I’m doing now.
‘In terms of coaching now, working with Ross Worner is just unbelievable because he’s been there and done it and he’s a great lad as well - we got on really well.
‘In the long run I want to get my badges and do all that, but we work really well together, there are some other keepers who come in and we just give each other ideas and put on sessions. It’s really working well at the moment.
‘You’ve got to enjoy what you do and it just makes it so much easier because there’s such a good group of lads at Havant now and the gaffer has been fantastic for me and supporting me.
‘Working with Ross everyday is something you can’t turn down if you’re 25 years old and still want to do a bit.’
Even when Searle is not training three days a week with Hawks he still won't be too far away from the pitch.
The former Baffins stopper has a role as groundsman tending to the surfaces at his old Wessex League Premier Division club and AFC Portchester along with another of his former teams Salisbury.
Searle admitted he's still acclimatising to training three mornings a week with Hawks and fitting in his groundsman responsibilities - but he feels it's something he won't take long to get used to.
He said: ‘It’s tough (full-time training), I’m used to being on my feet all day, but I have noticed that when you’re demanding yourself everyday - obviously you want to be the best everytime you train - but that can be tiring on the body.
‘We’re nearly a month in - I think after a month your body will get used to it - but it’s brilliant at the moment.
‘Ross is an unbelievable goalkeeper so I’ve definitely got my work cut out if I’m going to get that number one spot.
‘There’s a lot that can happen in football, you never know, things can change drastically.
‘I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t want to play, no-one would say that, obviously I know I’m number two at the moment but why not aspire to be number one.’