Young defender signs first professional deal with Rotherham United...
Rotherham United Academy player Jake Cooper has signed his first professional deal at AESSEAL New York Stadium, subject to EFL and FA ratification.
The 18-year-old, who joined the club’s Academy setup in 2015 and has since gone on to impress as a scholar at youth and reserve level, pens a one-year deal with the Millers.
The defender has also received recognition from the Republic of Ireland, whose squads he has been involved with at youth level.
Upon signing the deal, Cooper told www.themillers.co.uk that he was thrilled to see his efforts rewarded with a contract and an opportunity to impress first team boss Paul Warne, whilst thanking the Academy staff for their input in his development to reach this point.
“I'm over the moon. It's something I've worked for all my life playing football and it is what every kid dreams of really, so I'm delighted to sign,” he explained.
“Richard [Hairyes] and Ciaran [Toner] and everyone in the Academy have brought me along a lot over the years and I have to give them a lot of credit for the position that I am in today.”
Cooper continued to explain that he is relishing the chance to join up with Warne and the senior squad, but admits that he is well-aware that the hard work will start now.
“As a young kid, you want a manager who will give you a chance,” he added.
“If you're good enough, you're old enough and I don't think I could be in a better place. It's a great club and the Gaffer is known for giving out opportunities to lads that deserve them, so it really is a great place to be and I will continue to work hard.
“It will definitely be challenging but that's what you need at the end of the day. It's in the club's philosophy to have players that work hard so you just have to get through it and it sets you up well for the season.
“I know Akeem [Hinds] and JJ [Joshua Kayode] from my years in the youth team and Wilesy as well, so there will be some familiar faces in the senior setup already.”
The young defender concluded by adding that he is hopeful of remaining in the international fold as he continues to develop.
“I've been with them [Republic of Ireland youth sides] in spells,” Cooper said.
“I'll be looking to get back into that team and stay involved with them over the course of the next year and try and stake a claim there as well as here.”