Ely footballer Tom, 18, scores life-changing offers after impressing on and off the pitch

Tom Upshaw (left) from Ely has impressed both on and off the pitch. Picture: FACEBOOK/NORWICH CITY R

Tom Upshaw (left) from Ely has impressed both on and off the pitch. Picture: FACEBOOK/NORWICH CITY REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME - Credit: Archant

A youth footballer from Ely has been offered two potentially life-changing choices after impressing both on and off the pitch.

Tom Upshaw, 18, plays as goalkeeper while studying a BTEC in Sport and Media Studies at Bishop Laney Sixth Form College as part of in Norwich City’s Regional Development Football and Education Programme (RDP).

Tom has played for the young Canaries for around four years and has received the chance to take up a football scholarship in America, as well as an unconditional offer from John Moores University in Liverpool.

Since joining the same college programme as the likes of former Peterborough United youngster Aaron Smith two years ago, the former Ely College student has put in the extra mile as he also helps as a goalkeeper coach.

“Tom started in our player development centres (PDC) as an under 14 so he has now been with us for about four years,” Pip Davis, football development officer on the RDP, said.

“He does goalkeeper coaching in our PDC, which he has done for the whole duration with us on the college programme.

“From the moment he came in, he wanted to do as much as could. At Christmas, he turned up to our trial days and worked with our prospective goalkeepers.

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“He is someone who fully deserves it, he is never behind on his college work and is a talented player.”

Known for his ball-playing skills, Tom carries the nickname ‘Upperson’ after the Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson and has progressed through the entire development system at Ely.

Having chosen to stay at Bishop Laney instead of Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, the ‘keeper now plans to continue coaching on the RDP before he makes a final decision, which either way, could lead to a bright future.

“We spent a lot of time trying to persuade Tom around GCSE results time,” Pip said.

“He opted for us because he was able to study on his education course he wanted and had the football.

“He is a role model for the students at Ely College; someone that has achieved good grades, attends every lesson and gets on with his work without issues.

“The John Moores offer is more around education, but that offer is unconditional and there are only offering about 40 places. The offer to go continue football and education in America is fantastic.

“We really could not be happier.”

For more information on the Norwich City RDP and to join, contact Pip Davis on 07468512197 or email pip.davis@canaries.co.uk.