‘Tears were flowing, but I hope to be back’ – Tommy Smith signs for Colorado Rapids

Tommy Smith has signed for MLS side Colorado Rapids. Photo: Pagepix

Tommy Smith has signed for MLS side Colorado Rapids. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Long-serving defender Tommy Smith admits the tears were flowing when he said goodbye to his Ipswich Town team mates having today completed his move to MLS side Colorado Rapids.

The 27-year-old – who first joined the Blues aged 14 and has made more than 250 first team appearances – signs for the Denver-based side for an undisclosed fee on a two-year deal.

Since undergoing back surgery in September 2016 he has made just seven starts.

“I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the club,” Smith told the club website.

“I was made to feel very welcome when I first arrived here at 14. They looked after me then and it remained that way and I’ve got some fantastic memories of my time here.

Tommy Smith, pictured at Ipswich Town's training ground. Photo: Richard Marsham

Tommy Smith, pictured at Ipswich Town's training ground. Photo: Richard Marsham

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“I’ve got a lot of love for the club and the town itself and it’s going to feel strange not coming here in the mornings. “It’s a big wrench to leave and it’s not a decision I have taken lightly but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to taking on.

“I have worked with the head coach at Colorado, Anthony Hudson, with New Zealand and he made it clear he wanted me to be part of his plans.

• Tommy Smith spoke to Kings of Anglia magazine about his football journey

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“That chance to play regular football again was key for me. I’ve had my injury problems over the last 18 months, two years but when I have been fit, I’ve been in and out of the team.

“That has been hard to take when before that I played regularly over three or four years.

“I had a chat with the manager here and he was very understanding and supportive when the chance came up to go to Colorado. With the opportunity to play regularly and the life experiences that I will get from the move, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“You can never be sure but when my football career is over, my wife and I intend to return to Ipswich and make it our home again.

“My last day at the training ground on Friday was a very emotional time, saying goodbye to the players and the staff. Tears were flowing but I hope to be back at the club in some capacity in future years.

“It would have been nice to have said a proper farewell to the fans but things move fast in football and unfortunately that hasn’t happened. I want to thank the fans for all their support over the years and wish the club every success in the future.

“I will miss the club immensely but I am looking forward to the challenge I face with the Rapids. Hopefully some fans would like to follow my progress out there.

“Goodbye for now and thank you.”

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