American Cody Cropper is only 18, but the 6-foot-4 goalie has already made quite an impression at English club Ipswich Town, where he debuted for its reserve team in a 3-0 win over Oxford.
"I've been training with the first team more and more the past few weeks," said Cropper, who is expected to compete for the starting job on the U.S. U-20 national team. "I've had a good few weeks of play. Hopefully I can carry that forward the rest of this season, into next season, and maybe get involved with the first team on match days. It's definitely on my mind. It's got to be. Any player needs to be aiming for the first team. But things have to happen for that to happen."
Cropper played for Maple Grove High School in his native Minnesota and for Wings SC, Bangu and the Minnesota Thunder Academy, as well as the USL Super Y team Reading Rage in Pennsylvania, before moving to the U.S. U-17 residency program in 2009. He had trials at several clubs before signing with Ipswich. He qualified for a British passport because his father, Joe, is English.