NEWLY-PROMOTED Sydenhams Premier champions Winchester City are looking to add another Isle of Wight talent to their ranks.
But centre-back Patrick Wilson is not an Islander born and bred.
The Canadian central defender has had a globe-trotting career, taking in stops in the USA, Belgium and Hungary en route to pitching up in Ryde and playing for Cowes Sports in Sydenhams Division One last term.
Winchester already have several IoW-based players on their books – notably ex-Saint Tom Dunford, Charlie Smeeton and Alek Przespolewski – and when owner Paul McCarthy and manager Guy Butters caught wind of Wilson’s pedigree, they didn’t hesitate to invite him for trials.
One showing was enough to convince them that he possesses the quality to help them make a big impact on their return to the Southern Division One South & West next term.
Wilson’s footballing story began in Canada where he played for the Erin Mills Soccer Club in the Canadian Soccer League.
He went on to study at Cornerstone University in Michigan, USA, where he led the Golden Eagles from centre-back from 2005-07.
He was honoured with the newcomer of the year award in his first season and the team won a 2006 championships under his leadership.
Having completed his studies, Wilson travelled to Europe in the summer of 2008, signing for a third division team in Belgium.
From there he was offered a professional contract with Hungarian second division side FC Dunaujvaros.
Along the way he accrued a teaching degree in physical education and, on arriving on the Isle of Wight, took up a position of education officer/course tutor for AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sports Trust which has a centre on the Island run by Paul Topping.
Wilson dipped his toes into IoW football with Island League side Newchurch before joining Cowes Sports, for whom he made 21 Wessex appearances last term.
“He certainly made a difference last year,” said Cowes secretary Glynn Skinner. “I hope he doesn’t leave us, but we don’t pay anyone, so there’s not a lot we could do to stop him.”
Winchester owner McCarthy said: “Everyone told us how good Patrick was, so we asked him to send us his CV and we got him over for training towards the end of last season.
“We liked what we saw and one session was enough for Guy (Butters) to know he’s got plenty about him.
“He’s a real athlete, he’s mature and he comes with a good pedigree having played at a decent level.”