20-year-old defender signs terms until 2018Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that talented young centre-back Jake Cooper has put pen to paper on a new contract this afternoon, keeping him at Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2018.
The highly-rated 20-year-old defender came through the ranks in our Academy system to make his first team breakthrough last season, earning a professional debut at home to Ipswich Town in August 2014 before going on to make a total of 19 appearances for the club in 2014-15.
This season, the 6’6” centre-half recovered from injury to make his first start against Everton in the Capital One Cup last month and, alongside fellow Academy defender Michael Hector that night, he impressed at the back against the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Arouna Kone and Ross Barkley.
Royals boss Steve Clarke said, "Jake Cooper is yet another product of the Reading Academy system and I’m very pleased that he has committed his future to the club.
"He has already shown that he has the ability to play in the first team here and is one of four very good central defenders that we have at the club. With the sale of Michael Hector to Chelsea, it was very important to secure Jake on a longer contract as I’m sure he will be a valued player for this club now and in the future."
Cooper joined the Royals’ Academy set-up aged 14, signed his first professional contract with the club in June 2013 and went on to star in both our Under-18s’ FA Youth Cup run to the semi-finals and our Under-21s’ Premier League Cup triumph that season.
In 2014-15 the Bracknell-born defender became one of a record number of Academy players handed their first team chance, and Cooper grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Powerful in the air, the former Forest School pupil scored twice at Carrow Road to earn the Royals an away win over eventual play-off winners Norwich City. As part of the back four, the assured centre-back confidently made the step up, demonstrating a calmness on the ball that belied his tender age.
Cooper missed the start of this season with a muscle injury, but the former England youth international played his first league minutes of our Championship campaign when he came off the bench towards the end of an impressive win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Now, by signing this new contract, Cooper has committed his future to a team his dad once briefly represented and to a club with whom he was a season ticket holder from the age of four!
Chief Executive Nigel Howe added, “Jake is another fine example of a talented young player who has come through our Academy system to admirably represent our first team. He is an excellent role model which all the young Academy players at this club should to look to emulate.”