The Kent FA is pleased to reveal Kent referee Ian Cooper has been appointed to the Johnston’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley on Sunday 30th March 2014.
Ian’s refereeing career spans 13 years in the county. Ian started officiating in the Rochester and District League. Progressing through the county promotion scheme fairly quickly, Ian gained a place on the Kent League and enjoyed two very good seasons resulting in his appointment as the referee for the Kent League Cup final.
Ian told us: “As a result of that cup final my career progressed and I began refereeing on the contributory leagues where at first I found it tough. It was a real challenge to adjust to the professionalism of the game.”
“In my second season at that level I started my season well both as a referee and assistant referee. Four months into the season I was at work, when my Dad called and informed me that I had received a letter from the Football League. I asked my dad to open the letter and to quote he said - "I don't believe it you have been promoted to the Football League as an assistant referee!"
Ian’s refereeing career has grown from strength to strength and he is currently in his eighth season on the Football League and has been involved in some very competitive and high profile games including the Play Off semi final and the FA Youth Cup Final.
Following the news he had been appointed to officiate at the Johnston’s Paint Trophy final, Ian said: “It has always been a dream of mine to officiate at Wembley and on the 30th March this will come true.”
Ian added; “I'm not ashamed to say that when I received the phone call to inform me that I have been appointed to the Johnson's Paint Trophy final, I had tears in my eyes as 14 years hard work has paid off and my dream is now reality.”
Now the announcement has been made, Ian’s focus is on preparing for what will be an incredible day in his career.
“My feelings building up to the final are currently of immense excitement! One thing I'm concerned about is my Mum has stated that I have to sing the national anthem otherwise I'll be in big trouble with her - it is my intention to sing the national anthem thankfully!”
Ian paid tribute to the support the Kent FA has granted building up to this special achievement.
“I have had some great support and times over the years from people within the Kent FA. Terry Lawrence helped me massively early on in my career and Colin Boswell always had games to officiate to provide more experience to develop as a referee.”
“Currently the Kent FA is doing great things for referees with so much training, support groups and coaching groups. These support networks can only progress Kent refereeing and enable many more referees to climb the refereeing ladder.”
The Kent FA would like to wish Ian and his colleagues all the best for the Johnston’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley on Sunday 30th March 2014.