Young footballer making his mark in the West Country following Ecuador experience
By Laura Linham
11th Apr 2023 | Football
A Somerset schoolboy footballer is making waves in the West Country after being inspired by his experience training with former Manchester United captain, Antonio Valencia, in Ecuador.
Nico Cottle, 18, has been regularly training with the first team of Southern Football League Division One South side Larkhall Athletic in Bath and earlier this year, joined the first team at Uhlsport Somerset County League Division 2 West side, Glastonbury F.C., scoring two goals in three games.
Glastonbury F.C. manager Billy Whittaker said that Nico has been adapting well to men's football and has shown huge potential to be a promising player in the future.
Meanwhile, Larkhall Athletic manager Ollie Price praised Nico's technical ability and enthusiasm to work hard and develop his game.
Nico's footballing talents have allowed him to move from Churchill Academy to the sixth form of Millfield School in Street, on a football scholarship to study BTEC Sport and Business Studies. He said he learned a lot from training with older and more experienced players and is grateful for the opportunity that Larkhall Athletic gave him.
He added that he learned a lot from his time in Ecuador, where he spent two weeks training with the professional club AV25 Club Deportivo.
During his time there, he played with Valencia, one of his footballing idols, who autographed a football shirt for him.
AV25 Club Deportivo was founded in early 2022 by Valencia, his brother, and other relatives and friends after the footballer returned home to Ecuador after a successful decade at Old Trafford. He won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Europa League.
Nico, who plays as a winger or striker, has won praise from the managers of the West Country teams with which he is training and playing.
He said: "I approached the club because my mum is from Ecuador and we were visiting family during my school holidays, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some football training in my time off."
Nico says that he is grateful for the opportunities he has been given and is looking forward to continuing to develop his skills as a footballer.
"I learned so much from training with players that were older and more experienced than me," said Nico, from Winscombe, North Somerset, whose footballing talents have already enabled him to move from Churchill Academy to the sixth form of Millfield School, Somerset, on a football scholarship to study BTEC Sport and Business Studies.
"When I originally reached out to the club to ask about training with them, I could never have known it would be so inspirational and would help my development as a footballer as much as it has done.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity the club gave me, and for enabling me to experience a different style of football and culture within a team.
"I learned so much from my time in Ecuador. The project that the club is building is incredible and will help so many young footballers in the coming years."