It’s a life that’s strictly on the football field for Cornish boy, Cody Cooke. The 25-year-old striker has had quite the year, moving from the very bottom corner of the UK all the way up to the land of the Scot’s – where getting tae grips wi’ th’ scot’s lingo has proved a struggle, apparently.
After seven years of playing in the National League South’s for Cornish football club, Truro City, Cody Cooke made the local sporting headlines when he was picked up by Scottish Premiership football team, St Mirren F.C. “When I got the call I couldn’t quite believe it – me, a lad from Cornwall was being offered a place in the Scottish Prem? It didn’t seem real”, he says.
But there had been a buzz surrounding Cody for a while and he reveals: “I had a good year last year at Truro F.C. After starting the season in a new position as a striker, I ended up totting up enough goals to land myself in the top-10 goal scorers in the league. This then led to being put forward for Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy where I spent a week at Manchester City F.C.’s Etihad Stadium back in the summer”.
The V9 Academy, which according to their website, ‘aims to discover non-league talent and promote them to the professional game’ was an experience that Cody will never forget. He says: “We were treated like pros, we got to meet Jamie Vardy — and I stayed in Manchester City player Sergio Agüero’s room for the week which was so surreal”.
After a successful stint at the Academy, Cody was offered a contract with St Mirren F.C, moved to Glasgow and the rest is pretty much history: “Well, if only football went that smoothly”, the 25-year-old admits. “It’s definitely harder than it looks and there’s a whole load of hidden work like keeping at peek physical fitness consistently – there’s no room for a bad day.
“But if it wasn’t for this opportunity, I wouldn’t have the chance to play against huge teams like Rangers F.C. – that was definitely a pinch me moment!”
“Keeping healthy mentally is such a priority though, and factors such as injuries are something that definitely proves tough on the mind. In short, injuries mean that you’re not playing and that leads to a lot of frustration”, he reveals.
He goes on to say: “But don’t get me wrong, living that life-long ambition is so rewarding and something that I’m proud of. I get to spend every day within a team that I can now call my friends while working hard for what I love.”
So what’s Scottish life like for Cody now? “It’s so different, coming from a small Cornish town to a huge city but I know I’m definitely getting there as I’m using Uber Eats now – and if that’s not living the city life then I don’t know what is… haha.” He admits: “I’m still struggling with the Scottish accent though!”
When asked what advice he would give anyone looking to carve out a career in football, he says: “Be ready for lots of knock backs but also use these as your comebacks. Mental resilience is important but it’s also just as important to enjoy every moment.
“Also, for me personally, I’ve found having other focuses really helpful. I’ve always been interested in teaching sport so after studying my Sports Development degree at good-old Marjon, I landed my first teaching role at Exeter College last year. I know that education isn’t everyone’s thing but just spending time on something other than football has been beneficial to me”, he says.
And with one final question to ask Cody, it had to be what he thought of his time studying at Marjon, where he graduated back in 2014, and he reveals: “Really good, I loved it. I met some great people that I’m still friends with now – they’re even coming up to Glasgow to visit this Christmas. I’m still in contact with some of my old lecturers too – I have only good things to say about the place.” Here at Marjon, we can categorically state that we did not pay Cody to say such nice things…