TEENAGE FOOTBALLER Joe Cooper admitted life couldn’t be any sweeter.
Less than a fortnight after being offered a professional contract by Oldham Athletic, the 18-year-old from Springhead was handed his first-team debut.
Former Saddleworth School pupil Joe, who is usually a central defender, made his bow at right back in the npower League One fixture at Shrewsbury Town which Latics lost 1-0.
It was still a memorable night for Joe who said: “It was a great experience to play and to make my League debut. It is something I will never forget. I loved everything which came with the day.
“I have had a taste and now want to kick on and play more games. I will be doing a lot of fitness work in the summer so I am in good shape when I report back for pre-season training.”
Usually the players are told the team the day before the game, but this did not happen for Joe.
He said: “I knew I was in the squad but was only told I was playing when we arrived at the hotel for our pre-match meal.
“It was probably done to prevent me having too long to think about playing and to become nervous.”
As for the game Joe, who joined Latics’ Centre of Excellence at the age of 10, he explained the pace was a lot quicker than youth and reserve-team football.
Joe was watched by his proud father John. Mother Amanda would have loved to be at Greenhous Meadow, but couldn’t attend as Joe’s younger brother Will was at home preparing for a SATS exam at school.
Joe, who was raised only a couple of streets away from former Latics’ favourite Chris Taylor, is one of four Latics’ scholars celebrating after being offered professional contracts.