How six weeks on trial at Ipswich led an American defender to sign for Norwich

Jonathan Tomkinson on the ball during Norwich City Under-18s' FA Youth Cup third round tie against N

Jonathan Tomkinson on the ball during Norwich City Under-18s' FA Youth Cup third round tie against Newcastle at Carrow Road Picture: David Freezer/Archant - Credit: David Freezer/Archant

American defender Jonathan Tomkinson has revealed how a prolonged spell on trial at Ipswich Town ultimately helped him secure a move to Norwich City.

The 18-year-old Texan, whose family are Ipswich fans, is currently playing in the Canaries academy and has featured in the FA Youth Cup, having previously spent six weeks on trial with the Blues.

And although that spell ultimately came to nothing, the fact head of academy recruitment Steve McGavin left Ipswich for Norwich in 2017 opened the Carrow Road door for Tomkinson.

“We started thinking about going to England to do trials, and we decided to eventually do it,” said the defender in an interview with American Soccer Now.

“I think it was four trials that I ended up doing. My first was at Ipswich, which are Norwich’s biggest rivals and my dad’s side of the family supports them funnily enough.

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“I spent about six weeks there to get my first insight into Europe, and I thought I did well up until the last week. I was used to playing in Texas where it was hot even in the winter, but now it was snowing.”

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“Eventually, I got my trial at Norwich last spring,” the teenager continued.

“The head of recruitment at Ipswich (McGavin, father of Town midfielder Brett) had moved to Norwich halfway through my trial, so my dad reached out to him with some film on how I’d progressed. They offered me a one-week trial and then sent me down to Colchester for a second week because they didn’t have anything going on at that time. It was challenging, but I played well.

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“I remember playing against Tottenham and thinking it was not going to go well because it was Tottenham. We actually ended up winning that game 3-0, and it’s probably one of the best matches I’ve ever played in my life.”

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