Tractor Girls' all-time leading goalscorer turns pro
Natasha Thomas has signed her first professional contract with Town Women.
The 25-year-old forward has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with an option of a further year, becoming the ninth and final Tractor Girl to turn professional this summer.
Natasha joined Town from Lowestoft Town in October 2015 after starting her career by progressing through grass roots level at Waveney. She had been a long-time target of then Blues' boss Ralph Pruden and Thomas subsequently went on to link up with her Suffolk county manager after catching the eye with her performances whilst at Lowestoft.
She enjoyed a strong first 18 months at the Club but took her form to a new level in the 2017/18 season, scoring 30 goals in all competitions as the Tractor Girls finished 3rd in the table. Her exploits saw her win three end of season awards and was the runner-up for the League's player of the year award.
Natasha endured a frustrating 2018/19 season but still managed to net 17 goals for the Tractor Girls in a topsy-turvy campaign. It was business as usual when the 2019/20 campaign kicked off, with Thomas crucial to Joe Sheehan's promotion-chasing side. She got herself off the mark in the Blues' 4-1 victory over Norwich City in September 2019, a game which was played in front of a record crowd at the Goldstar Ground.
She would go on to bag a further four goals against the Canaries that season whilst also netting crucial goals against Billericay Town, Chichester, Enfield Town and Huddersfield Town. Her performances in a Town shirt would see her attract interest from Championship sides but the Blues' forward pledged her future to the Club as she helped the Tractor Girls through a historic season. She would finish the curtailed campaign on 26 goals in all competitions, winning the Club's golden boot award for a fourth successive season.
Once football resumed after the outbreak of the pandemic, Natasha picked up where she left off, scoring nine goals in seven games, including two hat-tricks against Cambridge United and Peterborough Northern Star. Following another frustrating curtailment of the season, Thomas suffered a calf strain in a friendly against Portsmouth and would go on to miss the Tractor Girls' two remaining friendlies against Southampton and Nottingham Forest prior to Town's promotion to the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.
The Tractor Girls' all-time leading goalscorer is now just one goal away from hitting a century, having scored 99 goals in 119 appearances for the Club.
"It feels great. After being here for five seasons now, to be handed that pro contract, it feels really good," Natasha told iFollow Ipswich.
"Football is my passion. I've always wanted to play as high as I can and better myself every game, every year, every season."
Watch Natasha's full interview on iFollow Ipswich shortly.