MANAGER Carl Heeley has lauded “immense” Wayne Thomas after the experienced Worcester City defender was handed a coaching role with Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls.
The influential centre back has been a huge success since his arrival at the Blue and Whites at the back end of last season and helped his side comfortably avoid the drop in the 2013/14 campaign.
But Thomas has now been offered the chance to coach through the American outfit’s academy set-up and has subsequently cancelled his contract with City.
The 35-year-old applauded the travelling Worcester fans in Saturday’s 4-1 success at Solihull and Heeley could not speak highly enough of the former Stoke man.
“When we needed him last season, we needed an experienced central defender, Wayne came in and he was immense for us,” Heeley said.
“You cannot underestimate just how influential that man has been for the football club, he goes with our best wishes and I would like to publicly come out and thank him for his immense contribution to this club.
“It is a wonderful opportunity he couldn’t turn down and it is fully deserved.”
Having played a key role in Worcester’s fairytale FA Cup story this season, Thomas also came in for praise for the experience he could offer the non-leaguers in their trips to League One Coventry City and Scunthorpe United.
“When we went to places like Coventry and Scunthorpe – I have experienced a lot of things playing the game – but it was a new experience for me and Wayne Thomas was very helpful to me, Matt (Gardiner) and Snap (John Snape) because he had been through it so many times,” Heeley added.
“He goes with our best wishes and good luck to him because what a true professional, he has been immense for this football club.”
Thomas made 40 appearances for Worcester – including one in between the sticks against Harrogate Town – and scored one goal.