Youth team captain Kavan agrees terms to go pro
We are delighted to confirm that Hatters youth team captain Kavan Cotter has agreed terms on his first professional contract at Kenilworth Road.
It was announced on Saturday that the midfielder, who turned 18 at the start of May, was the only second-year scholar to be offered a professional contract this summer. His team-mates Tyreeq Bakinson, Akin Famewo and Arthur Read had already turned pro during the past 14 months.
Cotter joined the Town’s academy as an Under-13 having previously spent time at QPR and Arsenal, and he told lutontown.co.uk: “It feels great. I’ve been working hard for this for a long time and it just feels nice to finally put pen to paper. Hopefully I can get in the first team soon.
“It’s what everyone’s main goal is, to get their first professional contract. But I know there is a lot more to be done so I’ll keep working hard and hopefully get there one day.”
The Hemel Hempstead-based youngster already has one senior appearance to his name, having played at right-back in the 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy win at Gillingham last August – a night when 14 of the 18 players on manager Nathan Jones’ teamsheet were academy graduates.
“That was great, one of the best nights of my life,” said Cotter (pictured below in the centre of the group celebrating the first goal at Priestfield).
“I just remember being in the meeting, seeing my name down as starting – and I’d never had that feeling before. The fans were great as well. There was a lot of us involved and I was quite nervous, but it was a good day.”
Having seen youth product James Justin make 40 appearances in his breakthrough campaign and Famewo make his first EFL start at Hartlepool this term, Cotter knows there is a pathway for himself and others who have come through the Under-18 set-up under youth boss Paul Driver.
“It does give everybody hope if you see them doing it,” he adds. “It just gives you more determination to try and do it yourself.”
Driver was delighted to see Cotter follow in the footsteps of his previous captain Frankie Musonda, who led the Under-18s to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2015-16.
“Kav’s done really well,” said Driver. “He played in the 18s as a 16-year-old, often at full-back rather than his natural midfield, which got him ahead of himself. He was very positive throughout the Youth Cup run and it stood him in good stead for this season.
“It was testament to his ability that he was able to turn in such an accomplished performance at Gillingham as a right-back, and he’s been the stand-out player for me this year. He deserves his chance and I’ll be following his career with interest.”