Atherton Collieries goalkeeper Nico Defreitas-Hansen has left the club to pursue professional football opportunities in the United States.

The Danish stopper was a summer arrival in 2022, linking up with brother Luca at the Skuna Stadium.

Since his debut at Broadhurst Park in August 2022, he became a fans’ favourite making 52 appearances for the Black and Whites Stripes, registering 12 clean sheets.

He also picked up five man-of-the-match awards and a current record of four Supporters’ Club player-of-the-month honours, as well as a solitary assist for the club during the recent league win at Bradford (Park Avenue).

The keeper departs to live closer to his family in South Florida.

Brother Luca made 75 appearances for Colls, but had to retire and return stateside himself in the summer due to recurring concussion injuries.

Keeper Nico told the club’s YouTube channel: “I am going back home to America to seek full-time football.

“It has been hard without the family and my brother here, but I have learnt more in the one-and-a-half years here than the previous five years in academy football.

“It has done me the world of good and the experience has helped me out loads

“It is such a family-friendly club and the fans are always there supporting us.

“I am going to miss playing at the Skuna, but hopefully the team can kick on - that group of lads are too good to be down the bottom.”

A statement released by the club said: “Everybody at the club would like to thank Nico for his service and efforts at the Skuna Stadium, and we all wish him the best of luck with his future career.”