Swaffham Town's Tommy chases American dream as Pedlars set out on FA Cup trail
Swaffham Town set out on their FA Cup journey tomorrow – as another Pedlars player prepares for an adventure of a different kind next week.
Tommy Hunt, 19, will be the latest West Norfolk footballer to live the American dream after being accepted into a football program at Tyler Community College in Texas.
Tommy - the son of Swaffham Town manager Paul - will follow in the footsteps of former Linnets striker Dom Dwyer and the likes of Kyle Nichols and Joe Setchell, who all started out at Tyler Community College, when he flies out to the USA on Wednesday.
The young midfielder will have the opportunity to combine his studies alongside playing high level football and training and, if he makes sufficient progress, he is hoping to extend his stay in the States further.
Tommy, who will train on a daily basis, will be part of the college side who play two games a week in NJCAA Division One.
“This has been Tommy’s target for the last four or five years,” explained Paul.
“I’m lucky enough to have contacts out there and know the mechanisms in America.”
Tommy’s talent on the football pitch has never been in doubt, ever since he was invited to join an elite development program with the King’s Lynn Community Football scheme.
He has picked up a string of honours in his teenage years on his way to linking up with the Pedlars at the age of 15.
As well as captaining and helping the under-18 team to success, Tommy broke into the first team at Shoemakers Lane back in 2016/17, making his debut in a 4-4 home draw against Newmarket Town.
Since then he has never looked back, making 90 appearances for the club and was an ever-present in the Pedlars’ promotion-winning side of last season, playing 51 games.
“Tommy going out there is a three-edged sword in a way,” said Paul.
“He’s a top lad and as my son, I will miss not having him around.
“Secondly, he will be missed at the club where he has provided energy and quality in midfield. With the help and support of many of the senior players, I have seen him grow and develop into the player he is today.
“Last of all, I’m really happy that he is going on an adventure to study and play the game he loves. It really is a huge opportunity for him.
“The college play in some lovely places, he will be playing alongside international players and the training facilities out there are absolutely first class.”
The youngster was an interested spectator on the sidelines as Swaffham Town made it two wins from as many matches with a 2-1 derby win at Thetford on Tuesday night.
Ryan Pearson netted both goals and the Pedlars now turn their attentions to the FA Cup and Biggleswade United tomorrow.
“I’ve heard the FA Cup described as a happy distraction before and that sums it up perfectly for us,” said Hunt.
“The league is our priority. It’s the yardstick that you are measured by at the end of the season, but we will enjoy the day out.”