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Dashun Cooper hits the big time with QPR

Dashun Cooper, right, and father Wilbur Brangman (Photograph supplied)

Dashun Cooper has fulfilled a dream of working at a professional football club.

The Bermudian has been appointed as a full-time academy goalkeeping coach at Sky Bet Championship side Queens Park Rangers, having agreed to the terms of an undisclosed deal.

“I am over the moon because it’s something that I have been dreaming since 2017 when I went to West Ham,” an enthusiastic Cooper told The Royal Gazette. “I saw the facilities, saw the level and that’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, so being a part of it now is great.

“Being on the grass is great and I couldn’t put into words being on the same field as Asmir Begovic and countless other professionals, so I am really happy.

“It’s a really good club and a lot of friendly people that welcomed me in big-time.

“They have a lot of people who have been in the professional game a while, so being around them is really refreshing and I definitely came to learn a lot from them.”

As for his duties, the former X-Roads Warriors and BAA goalkeeper added: “I will be primarily responsible for the under-nines all the way up to the under-16s.

“We have our head of goalkeeping, Ryan Hudson, who is primarily in charge of the professional development phase, so he will be with the under-18s and development squad, and I will be assisting him with that as well.

“Any time, for example the development squad have a game on Saturday and he has to travel with the under-21s, I will travel with the under-18s and work with him side to side with the under-18s and development squad during sessions.”

Having “got a foot in the door”, Cooper is determined to capitalise on the opportunity to expand his football horizons.

“I just want to keep learning as much as I can from a lot of professional people,” he said. “My colleague, Ryan Hudson, and I will be working with Gavin Ward as well, who is the first-team goalkeeping coach for QPR.

“The technical director, Chris Ramsey, and those guys come with such a wealth of knowledge and some experience. Chris Ramsey alone has been at QPR for about ten years and coached England Under-19 at the World Cup and was QPR’s manager on a short-term basis at one point.

“Just to learn from people like that is going to be massive for me. Just keep beefing up my résumé’ and my experience to, not only potentially stay here longer, but to get even higher-level jobs and to progress to first-team management.

“The main goal is just to keep progressing through the ranks, and I think this is massive for me because my foot is officially in the door.

“Getting a full-time job in a professional club is not something that’s easy to come by, so it’s definitely something that I want to cement and keep doing.”

Cooper’s arrival has coincided with major upgrades that are being made to the academy’s various facilities.

“It’s a pretty exciting time to join the club at the moment because they are pretty much revamping the youth academy,” he added.

“They are renovating the facility, so we’ve just actually moved into a new building that has state-of-the-art equipment.

“We have two gyms, both of the cafeterias are massive, office buildings, physiotherapy rooms, multiple changing rooms, match analysis rooms, so it’s really exciting times at the club moving forward in regards to the youth.

“We have five to six grass pitches and a dome across the street at Cranford Community College, so it’s a really good club.”

Cooper is not the first Bermudian to hold ties with the QPR as compatriot Nahki Wells had two loan spells with the club during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, scoring 20 goals in 66 appearances.

“Nahki was there a few seasons ago on loan and when I was being interviewed I told Chris Ramsey I know him and his face lit up one time,” Cooper said.

The 30-year-old holds a Uefa B Licence, Uefa B Goalkeeping Licence and is also a certified Level 2 analyst with the International Society of Performance Analysis of Sport.

Cooper also has previous experience as a goalkeeper coach with Premier League side Crystal Palace and was head of goalkeeping at non-League Hartley Wintney and the Independent Development Academy in Reading.

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Published August 12, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated August 12, 2023 at 12:51 am)

Dashun Cooper hits the big time with QPR

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