By Jason McKeown
It was one of the worst kept secrets of the summer, but today Bradford City have confirmed that 18-year-old American forward Jonathan Lewis has signed for the Bantams on a two-year deal.
Lewis was spotted and recommended to the club by former City winger Mark Ellis, as part of his scouting work for his RIASA academy. Having being responsible for putting James Hanson and Nahki Wells forward for trials at Valley Parade, the club were willing to take a look at Lewis on Ellis’ recommendation, and have offered him a deal.
I spoke to Mark Ellis earlier in the summer regarding the club’s new partnership with RIASA, that will see City field a reserve team next season after a two-year absence, run and funded by RIASA. During our chat, Ellis shared some inside details on Lewis, that I could run when the signing was officially announced.
“Jon was playing over in Orlando and we were monitoring him for over 12 months,” Ellis explained. “We brought him over here and he attracted interested from a couple of Championship clubs. He actually played in the Premier Under 21 League game at only 16-years-old and did well. He was at another big club for a week and scored a couple of goals there.
“Chesterfield were chasing him. Middlesbrough were quite interested and Fulham. But a lot of these clubs have their own agenda. They want to bring their own youth players through. Youth coaches feel a bit threatened by it. And so then I recommended him to Bradford City and they were willing to take him on.
“He’s just like Nahki, he’s a ringer for him. You never know how he will adjust to it, but he does seem like a grounded lad. He loves football.”
Lewis will initially train with the City youth team, and it will be interesting to see if he pushes his way into first team contention later in the season.