American defender on his move to Norwich City - via Ipswich
- Credit: David Freezer/Archant
A young Norwich City defender has revealed how a snowy week in Ipswich ended up with him signing for the Canaries.
Jonathan Tomkinson had been playing on his native Texas when the dream of playing in the Premier League prompted him to head across the Atlantic for trials in Europe.
“We started thinking about going to England to do trials, and we decided to eventually do it,” said the defender.
“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.
“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 where it was hot even in the winter, but now it was snowing.”
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Tomkinson returned to the States, but the link with Norwich resurfaced.
“Eventually, I got my trial at Norwich last spring,” the 18-year-old Tomkinson told American Soccer Now. “The head of recruitment at Ipswich 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. 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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While Tomkinson was born and raised in Texas, Norwich and Norfolk wasn’t exactly an unknown quantity - he had visited family near Norwich throughout the summers of his childhood.
Tomkinson earned his first call-up to a United States national team camp, part of the under-17s squad to face Mexico last September, although he didn’t play.
“I don’t want to say [the call-up] was a surprise, but it definitely shocked me,” Tomkinson said. “Josh Ramsay and I had been playing together for three years at that point, and we would always talk about how we should be there and that we deserved it. Then it happened, and it felt unreal. “