‘To debut for Cambridge was the icing on the cake’ - parents react as Ely footballer makes Cambridge United debut

PUBLISHED: 10:53 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 15 September 2020

Lewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

Lewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

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For one Ely footballer, he perhaps could not have felt a better experience than making his professional debut for his boyhood club.

Lewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Here, Lewis pictured when he was part of Cambridge United's under 8s academy. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILYLewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Here, Lewis pictured when he was part of Cambridge United's under 8s academy. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

Lewis Simper came on as a substitute in Cambridge United’s 2-0 EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday, September 8, a moment he has looked forward to since childhood.

“We are immensely proud, made special by the fact that all his family and friends were there to see him step onto the pitch,” Tonia and Karl Simper, Lewis’ parents, said.

Last week’s game was a pilot event for the safe return of fans to football stadiums across the UK, which allowed Simper’s family to watch the 19-year-old make his United debut.

Having started playing football at his local team, Ely Crusaders aged six, Lewis attended a Cambridge United trial evening.

Lewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILYLewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

Since deciding to join Cambridge 12 years ago, the teenager went on to complete his two-year scholarship before signing a professional contract in January this year.

“Every parents’ and players’ dream is to go as far as possible; for the moment, the aim is to secure a regular place in the Cambridge first team squad,” Tonia and Karl said.

“As parents, we hope Lewis carries on making the right impression that’s got him where he is today with Cambridge United.

“He comes from a family who have supported the club for over 50 years, and to debut for Cambridge was the icing on the cake.”

Lewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILYLewis Simper from Ely made his professional debut for Cambridge United in their EFL Trophy win over Fulham under 21s, having been at United since he was seven-years-old. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

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Lewis has also received messages of congratulations from others too, including family friend Helen Whittaker, who has known the player since he attended Rainbow Pre-School in Ely.

Helen said: “Lewis has worked incredibly hard from a very young age. We have seen the sacrifices he has had to make to achieve in football.

“He is a lovely young man who is a credit to his family and his club. We are very proud and delighted for him - he deserves every success.”

Graham Whiteman, Lewis’ PE teacher at Ely College, shared his thoughts on his former student’s achievements.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Amazing to see @lewissimper_ get to this level of football. Huge achievement and fully deserved. What a lucky boy to have learnt from me in his PE lessons!”

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