Ben Morris spent 16 years at Ipswich but left the club early this year and has just finished his first season playing in America for Detroit City. Ross Halls caught up with the forward to reflect on his time at Town and journey in the US so far...

Morris joined the club at U9s level, where he progressed through the youth ranks, before making his breakthrough during Mick McCarthy's final season in charge of Ipswich.

He was among the young players who impressed as a youthful Town side pushed Crystal Palace all the way in the Carabao Cup, losing the game just 2-1 at Selhurst Park in August 2017.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ben Morris battles for the ball against Yohan Cabaye during the Carabao Cup clash at Crystal Palace.Ben Morris battles for the ball against Yohan Cabaye during the Carabao Cup clash at Crystal Palace. (Image: PA)

He remembers that game fondly: "We got told a few days before he (Mick McCarthy) said he's not going to play any of the older group and he was like we're going to take all the U23s.

"It was crazy because this might be a chance to make my debut and even being on the bench I was so happy, especially against a Premier League team.

"The whole game we were always in it, we played so well as a team and they weren't excepting that performance from everyone but they scored two good goals to win it.

"Everyone was so proud of how well we did and we represented the club in such a good way and I always remember my assist for Bersant Celina's goal." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ben Morris watches as he has an effort saved during the 2-2 draw with Blackburn Rovers.Ben Morris watches as he has an effort saved during the 2-2 draw with Blackburn Rovers. (Image: Steve Waller)

The forward made a further four appearances for the club, with his last appearance coming in Paul Hurst's first game in charge when he impressed off the bench against Blackburn. 

Hurst then opted to loan him out to Forest Green Rovers, but sadly the move didn't work out as he struggled for regular football before returning to Portman Road.

Then Morris suffered his first injury set-back when he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in training. 

He recalled: "I always remember the day no matter what, we were having a training game with a mix of first team and U23 players, there was one point in the game where I was just collapsed, fell into Toto (Nsiala) and someone else but I carried on before I was pulled off by the physios.

"The same day I went to get a scan because we weren't really sure what I had done at the time and I remember getting the phone call saying that I have done it and just thought 's**t I'm going to be out for a long time' and I don't know what's going to happen.

"When I got back after surgery I started doing my rehab and I was always in a positive mood because I just took each day as it comes and looked forward to getting back.

"I had the best rehab team with Jimmy Reynolds, Scott Baxter and Geoff Robinson who helped me crack on with it everyday." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ben Morris was a regular for Town U23s side.Ben Morris was a regular for Town U23s side. (Image: Ross Halls)

He would return to action for the U23s in December 2019, but cruelly, just eight months later, he suffered a second ACL injury.

He explained: "I had just got back in training with the first team again after we came back from the break for Covid and at the time I was talking about going out on loan because I just needed to play games which I hadn't been able to do.

"This time it was probably the worst one of the two injuries because literally it was just a training session and I've gone to pass the ball but I lost my balance and did a roly-poly and I felt a click.

"With this injury you assume you can't walk but I was and I didn't feel anything afterwards. Obviously the physios at the time said we need to get this scanned just to see.

"I remember sitting at home on my bed when I got the call to tell me it's happened again and I just broke down when I heard the news because I felt fully back up to speed to where I was ready to play football again.

"The following day a team came in for me on loan, which made it such a bitter feeling at the time because it was a good opportunity.

"I had a phone call from Paul Lambert saying he knows people have done this twice and I know what kind of lad you're so you will get back from this and I felt that really helped me at the time hearing some positive news that I could come back from it again." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ben Morris pictured when he did both of his injuries.Ben Morris pictured when he did both of his injuries. (Image: Ben Morris)

Morris made his comeback in the U23s in the summer of 2021 and joined Swedish club GAIS on loan, enjoying a successful spell in the Ettan Södra (third tier) before returning to Town

Then, in February this year he left Town after 16 years, a sad moment for the youngster.

He recalled: "I felt it was the end of the road because when the new owners and Kieran McKenna came in to the club it was only going one way which was up.

"Obviously they had the money to spend on players and I just thought at the time with my age it was probably the best time to go and further my career which was sad because I had been at the club for some long.

"I always wanted to try and do it at Ipswich because I built that connection with the club and I have memories that will never leave me and always grateful to play for Ipswich.

"It will always be a club look for the results and I only hope they get promoted again this year!"

The former England youth international joined Detroit City, managed by Trevor James.

He was a young player with Town in the 1970s before moving to the States and later had a spell as a youth coach back at the Blues.

Of the move, Morris said: "The move came about through Bryan Klug because he knew Trevor and put in a word that I was looking for a new club towards the end of my time at Ipswich.

"I had a long thought process of the move because I had all of January to try and find a club which firstly I was trying to go on loan for the rest of that season and play as many games I could and I had a few options but nothing that jumped out at me.

"I thought the move to Detroit was interesting, especially having the loan spell in Sweden as well so I've travelled before, and the more I looked into it the more it interested me.

"Plus a month before I moved there was a few lads from Monterey Bay who Frank Yallop brought over for some training so I spoke to them about it." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ben Morris joined Detroit City who play in the second league in the US.Ben Morris joined Detroit City who play in the second league in the US. (Image: Detroit City)

The 24-year-old has just finished his first season in the USL Championship, living in Detroit.

"It's much better than I first thought to be honest because especially when you're in the UK you hear about the bad stuff and everything that goes on but there's parts of Detroit which are really nice," he enthused.

" I think the main thing is the people around me and the team who just helped me settle in and with the transition of moving over to the States. 

"I got put up in a apartment with one of the other lads but there is a lot of us players who live in this apartment complex, so there's people around us and never a day you can't do something with someone." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ben Morris scored seven goals in his first season.Ben Morris scored seven goals in his first season. (Image: Detroit City)

Morris was top goalscorer in his first season as Le Rouge finished eighth in the table, losing in the Eastern Conference Playoffs semi-finals. Part of that saw Morris and the side flying to away games, a new experience for the young striker.

He said: "At the start it was strange but throughout the season it got easier and comfortable doing it because some flights are like an hour and half or we could fly near close to five hours.

"I obviously had no knowledge of the league so I went in with an open mind but it was surprisingly good because there's some very good players and a decent standard across the whole league really." 

He has a year left on his contract with Detroit and says he will likely return to England one day to play at the highest level he can.

Morris said: "I'm really getting back up to speed now and building the games in, so I will have to pick where's right and look forward to what comes ahead."