Cornish striker Cody Cooke says ‘the sky’s the limit’ after joining National League new boys Weymouth this week, writes Tom Howe.
The 27-year-old made over 250 appearances for Truro City before making the jump – via Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy – to professional football with Scottish Premiership side St Mirren.
His two years in Paisley, whilst seeing him go toe-to-toe with the likes of Rangers and Celtic, also included a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Dundee’s Dens Park. However, injuries, including ruptured knee ligaments, hampered his progress north of the border and his time with the club came to an end at the end of his two-year deal in June.
Preferring a return to the West Country, Cooke spent the summer mulling his options, eager to make the right decision for himself and his family, eventually accepting an approach from the Terras, a club on the up and on a run of back-to-back promotions that persuaded League Two side Southend United to move for their manager Mark Molesley.
“I really didn’t want to jump into anything,” said Cooke. “In Scotland, for different reasons, I found it hard to get a run of games really. I found myself in and out quite often. I wanted this move to be really planned out and really thought about what I was doing. I didn’t want to find myself in a similar scenario.
“I really had to think. It sounds like a cliche but I sat down to work out the pros and cons and everything that goes with the offers I had on the table. Weymouth is a club that is really forward-thinking and have spoken to me over the last couple of years and I am really excited.
“I started training on Tuesday and, having been with the boys for a week, it is all positive. The club is in a really good place. The players have won back-to-back promotions, so the confidence and everything like that is absolutely flying.
“It is a good time to join the club as everything is pushing in one direction. It is just about keeping on top of that. The club wants to keep pushing on and the sky’s the limit at the moment. They want to keep going and hopefully I can be a big part of the process.”
The tribulations of out-of-contract footballers has long been a talking point and for Cooke, nearly 600 miles from home, things were no different.
“It is great to have everything sorted. First and foremost it has been a long process. I haven’t played since March and, with what has happened with Covid-19 and knowing that I was out of contract – it is a positive to get this over the line.
“There has been a lot of stuff involved – it is not just necessarily about football now. You have got to look at everything that revolves around it.
“A big part of my decision in coming to Weymouth was basing myself back down here and settling a bit, not uplifting my life every six months or every year in terms of contracts and stuff.
“I am in the process of moving everything back down. I have got bits everywhere and I was having a bit of a laugh about it with the boys.
“My missus’ sister has got a place in Somerset so I am currently living with them. I have got stuff in storage in Bristol and other stuff with my family in Cornwall.
“To get something sorted now, football wise, means I can get a base. My partner and I are looking at possibly living in Exeter where we lived previously.
“We are going to settle down and that is what we have been searching for really. As you get older, you have different goals and things you are looking for. For us, it was making sure we had a base, somewhere that if we had to commute we could make it work.”
Cooke could well make his Weymouth bow this Tuesday (September 1), when the Terras visit AFC Totton for their opening friendly of pre-season, before a potential home debut against Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday (September 5).
The 2020-21 National League season isn’t due to begin until October 3.