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Dreaming of the big time

SUNSHINE Coast product and budding Socceroo Mitch Cooper says he is determined to make his A-League debut in the 2011-12 season.

The 16-year-old recently returned from Mexico, where he was a standout for the Joeys in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and turned his attention to his Gold Coast United club commitments.

Cooper made his debut for the Gold Coast in last year's National Youth League. Although he has established himself as a future international, he says he has his sights set on playing senior A-League football next season.

“I just want to take it one step at a time now,” he said.

“My first aim is to stand out in the National Youth League as it's my second year in the competition and I want to keep learning and growing as a player.

“If I get a chance to play in the senior team and make my A-League debut, then that would be awesome.”

Cooper described his Under-17 World Cup as a mixed bag after being one of the last picked for coach Jan Versleijen's squad.

He had a quiet first outing against the Ivory Coast on the wing before being named players' player in the team's 1-0 loss to Brazil.

“It was a really good experience and of course I really enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

“To play for your country and in front of such big crowds was amazing for me and it's something I'll always remember.

“I struggled to make the squad at first then went on to play in all the games, so I have to be pleased with that and it's a great boost for my confidence.

“I kept working hard at training and that's all you can really do – give 100% all the time.”



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