Dereham footballer turns professional with Peterborough United
- Credit: Archant
Becoming a professional footballer is a dream for many youngsters growing up.
Talented teenager Bobby Copping, from Dereham, has achieved just that after signing his first professional contract with League One side Peterborough United.
The 18-year-old defender had been at Bury until their expulsion from the Football League in August.
In February 2018, he made his debut for the Shakers' under-23s team at just 16 and became an important player as the youngsters reached the quarter-finals of the 2018-19 FA Youth Cup.
But after Bury failed to secure a takeover deal, Copping suddenly found himself without a club.
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The centre-back recently enjoyed a week-long trial with Brighton and has now signed a two-year contract with Posh after catching the eye of manager Darren Ferguson.
Having put pen to paper, the former Northgate High School student said: "It feels great because all the hard work has paid off.
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"It's nice for my family as well because they've done a lot for me over the years. This was always my dream so to finally be a professional is amazing."
Copping, who spent nine years in Norwich City's academy before joining Bury, received offers from several clubs, but said Peterborough instantly made him feel valued.
"I had an offer from Sunderland but ended up turning that down," he added. "Peterborough made me an offer I couldn't really refuse in terms of the career pathway.
"They give young players a chance and I know, if I keep working hard, I'm good enough to push for a first-team place.
"I've settled in really well and all the first team lads have made me feel really welcome."
As a youngster, Copping played at Dereham Wanderers for a season before joining Swanton Morley, where he was scouted by Norwich City talent-spotters during his very first game.
In recent years he became an ambassador for Dereham-based team Help Delete Cancer FC, alongside Norwich City's Premier League star Todd Cantwell, who is also from Dereham.
Having switched Greater Manchester for Cambridgeshire, Copping says living much closer to home is a huge bonus.
"My family still live in Dereham so being in Peterborough allows me to visit them a bit more," he said.