Local footballer Cody Cooke is potentially one step away from becoming the latest Cornishman to enter professional football.

Cody, 25, from Penryn, is currently on the books at Truro City, but spent last week participating in the V9 Academy at Manchester City’s training complex in an attempt to win a contract at a professional club.

The academy is the brainchild of Leicester City and England footballer Jamie Vardy, who rose through the non-league ranks on his way to winning the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016.

His aim is to discover non-league talent and promote them to the professional game, while providing them with a unique educational experience into what it takes to play at the top level.

On the selection process, Cody said: “It was a recruitment process from their point of view, they send scouts out and get some names, and I got a call from my agent saying that they were looking around our league.

“He sent an application to them and they got back to me within that day, and before I knew it we were meeting in a couple of weeks time, so it all came around quite quickly.

Living life as a professional

Upon arrival at City's Etihad campus, Cody and his fellow academy picks spent the week living the lives of a professional footballer and using the state-of-the-art facilities that the club's Premier League stars use daily. 

“It is unbelievable," Cody said. "Every single aspect of it, as you could imagine, was just unbelievable.

"We were fortunate enough to stay where the first team boys stay so we almost lived the life of a City footballer for the week in terms of where they stay, what they eat, what they do, where they train, everything they did.

The week consisted of morning training with specialist coaches, followed by afternoons of rest and recovery before evening talks from people on aspects such as nutrition, as well as a visit from the 2017 academy graduates.

In addition, Cody and his fellow academy students had the daunting prospect of playing matches on the Tuesday and Friday in front of around 140 Football League scouts.

“It was a strange feeling,” he said. “But it was definitely enjoyable and I think I made the most of what I could have done.

“It was a jam-packed week, but something that I’ll never forget.”

Playing the waiting game

The hard work at the academy may be over, but the hardest part may well be what comes next, waiting for that phone to ring and coming to a decision about his future.

Cody lives in Exeter and will have to balance any decision with his current career and family life.

He said: “I’m fortunate enough that I’ve spoken to some people already and I’ve got some offers there to consider and its about what’s going to be right for me and my Mrs and my family and things like that.

“It’s been a dream that I’ve had for years now and something that I want to tick off and do. I think I would do well in the league but as I said things have got to be right, I don’t want to jump into anything.

“The main thing is that my phones had a few calls and I’ve had a few bits of interest already so it’s a good position to be in and it’s just about picking what I want now.

“Whatever comes of it, it’s been an unbelievable experience.”

Meeting the man himself

Cody also got the chance to meet the visionary behind the V9 Academy – Leicester City and England footballer Jamie Vardy.

“Jamie came on the Friday and introduced himself and spoke to a few people and he was there with Rebekah [Vardy, Jamie's wife] but they’re more at the forefront of it so they fund the whole thing for us and it’s something that he wants to give back to the community and give back to what essentially made him, to go on and do what he did,

"But it was brilliant to meet him on Friday with Rebekah and just get to chill with them really, and they came and watched the Friday game which was special.