Coker’s rollercoaster ride to U’s
Ben Coker is still pinching himself as he finalises the last few details of his switch from Suffolk non-league outfit Bury Town to professional League One side Colchester United.
BEN Coker is still pinching himself as he finalises the last few details of his switch from Suffolk non-league outfit Bury Town to professional League One side Colchester United.
Like every young amateur player up and down the land, the 21-year-old left-sided specialist has always dreamed that one day he might still make it as a professional player.
Rejections by Northampton and then Histon had him beginning to question whether that dream would become a reality two years ago, however, a move to Suffolk fatefully saw him join up with former U’s favourite Richard Wilkins and has finally led him to the Football League.
“I’ve been waiting all my footballing career for this,” said Coker, who is due to finalise a two-year deal at the Weston Homes Community Stadium today.
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“I’ve had to go down to come back up but I’ve got there in the end through hard work.
“It’s been a rollercoaster, but the route I have taken into the professional game has given me so much hunger to prove that I am good enough.”
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Comfortable at either left-back or left-midfield, Coker played a starring role for Bury Town last season, the free-kick and penalty specialist scoring 11 goals as the Suffolk side won the Zamaretto (Southern) League Division One Midlands to earn promotion to step three of the non-league pyramid.
Unselfishly manager Wilkins recommended him to coach Joe Dunne at his former club Colchester and, after taking a look at him in pre-season, U’s boss John Ward has offered him a two-year deal.
“I’ve always wanted to be a professional footballer,” said Coker, who lives in the Hertfordshire town of Royston.
“I’ve never wanted to settle for a job and to play football part-time. I’d told Wilks that I wanted to play at a higher level and he understood that totally because he was a player who got into the professional game from non-league.
“This is a dream come true. Training every day has been a little bit of a shock to the system because obviously I am only used to training twice a week in non-league, but I’m really enjoying it.
“The goal now is to get in the first team.
“I know it’s going to be hard, but if I work hard and be patient then maybe I can break into the side towards the end of the season.”