Andy Bond rejected overtures from Football League clubs to become Steve Burr's first signing as Chester FC manager.
Wigan-born Bond has agreed a deal until the end of the season and goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's trip to Forest Green Rovers (3pm).
An attack-minded midfielder, the 27-year-old started his career with Crewe Alexandra but made his name in a successful four-year spell with Barrow, helping the Bluebirds seal promotion to the Conference Premier and winning the FA Trophy.
"The thing with Andy is he knows what this level is about," said Burr.
"He's played a lot of league games as well and at 27-years-old he will bring a lot of experience to us. You are never sure on how a player is going to work out but I would like to think he'll be a good addition to the squad."
Bond left Barrow at the end of the 2009-10 season and moved to Colchester. He was a key player for the U's in his first two seasons but spent time on loan at Crewe last season and at Bristol Rovers this campaign after falling down the pecking order.
He left the Essex club on January 8 by mutual consent having made more than 120 appearances and scored 13 goals.
"Because Andy is from this area I thought there might be a good chance we can get him," said Burr.
"I know there was one or two league clubs interested in him but I managed to convince him to come and sign until the end of the season.
"He's the type of lad who wants to play and he wasn't prepared to hang around and wait and see what would happen with the league clubs because although there was nothing concrete he had got one or two offers."
Bond, who plays primarily in the middle but can also operate out wide, has not played first team football since mid-December but has been training with the Blues this week.
"I'm just pleased to have him here," said Burr.
"It was just before Christmas when he was last involved in a game so he's short of match fitness but he's a fit lad anyway so hopefully there won't be too many issues with that and he will be involved on Saturday."