Young keeper is handed a dream MLS chance with New York Red Bulls
PUBLISHED: 15:50 14 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:42 15 August 2014
Fakenham Town goalkeeper Joe Simpson has jetted off to America in a bid to earn himself a deal with one of the country's biggest clubs.
The 18-year-old is with Major League Soccer (MLS) side New York Red Bulls on trial and will spend another 10 days there having headed out last weekend.
It is another big opportunity for Simpson after he spent most of the 2013/14 season training with Norwich City – who recommended him to the Red Bulls when the American outfit got in touch with English clubs to ask for talented young players to look at.
And before leaving, Simpson, who joined Fakenham in the summer of 2013 from Downham Town and has played regularly for the Ghosts’ under-18s and reserves, said: “They got in touch because they were looking for a first-choice under-18 goalkeeper and it came a bit out of nowhere to me.
“In the first week though the under-18s aren’t going to be in so they want to have a look at me with the first-team goalkeeping coach.
“Whoever I get put with I’ll try and show them as best I can what I can offer as it is a fantastic football club from the under-18s to the first team and it’s a great opportunity for me.”
Simpson, from King’s Lynn – who is yet to make his senior debut for Fakenham owing to the form of Tommy Rix – puts his progress over the last year down to the support he has received at Clipbush Park.
The talented teenager added: “These sort of opportunities wouldn’t happen if you didn’t have the right people behind you pushing you and that’s where I have to thank Wayne [Anderson, the club’s manager], Neil Jarvis [assistant boss and under-18 coach] and David Martin [goalkeeping coach].
“They have helped me out massively since I’ve been at Fakenham and I wouldn’t be the player or person I am now without them.
“They helped me through my experiences at Norwich, the coaches there were brilliant too, and I’m grateful to them so now I just want to keep pushing on and learning.”
Simpson missed the Ghosts’ Thurlow Nunn Premier Division opener on Saturday, a 1-0 defeat at home to reigning champions Hadleigh United who edged the points thanks to David Lorimer’s 67th-minute header, despite a fine Fakenham performance.
Anderson’s side followed that up with a 2-0 win at Ely City on Tuesday night thanks to James Page’s penalty and a Ben Boyce strike in the space of two first-half minutes.
This Saturday the FA Cup campaign begins in the extra preliminary round at fellow Premier Division side Newmarket Town.
The winners will receive £1,500 prize money and a place in the preliminary round on August 30. The succesful side will take on the victors of the tie between Yaxley or Godmanchester Rovers.
If a replay is required it will take place at Clipbush Park on Wednesday August 20 (7.45pm) and if not, the Ghosts will instead host Thetford Town in league action that night.