Former Manchester United youth player who once played for Derry City accused of rape
John Cofie, who was signed for more than £1m aged just 14, has been charged with raping a woman in Trafford, Greater Manchester
A former Manchester United youth player who once played for Derry City has appeared in court accused of rape.
John Cofie, who was signed for more than £1m aged just 14, has been charged with raping a woman in Trafford, Greater Manchester, in 2019, alongside co-accused Nathan Stuart.
The 30-year-old was signed for the Red Devils in 2007 but was released six years later having failed to break into the first team.
He appeared at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court this week for the beginning of his trial where both men deny the charges.
Cofie, who played for England youth teams, turned down both Liverpool and Chelsea before signing for the Red Devils from Burnley ’s academy in 2007.
The £1.25m deal for the teenager which included an agreement for United to face the Turf Moor side in a friendly means he remains the youngest player that United have paid more than £1m for.
He was released at the end of his contract in 2013 after being unable to break into the first team at Old Trafford and a number of unsuccessful loan moves, including to Belgium.
Cofie then went on to play for Barnsley, Crawley Town and Wrexham before spells in Ireland, Australia and Philippines. He has not played since 2020 and has recently been working as a mentor for young players in Lancashire.
After United paid Burnley £1million to bring him to Old Trafford in 2007, he played in the young United side which won the FA Youth Cup in 2011.
But he never managed to make his senior debut for the club and was instead sent on loan to Belgian side Royal Antwerp and Sheffield United after playing in United’s U18s and U21s sides.
Cofie departed United in 2013 after another loan spell at Notts County, and joined Barnsley. He was snapped up by Norwegian side Molde the following season, but never made a senior appearance for the club.
He was released in January 2015 and spent two months as a free agent before moving to Crawley Town. After another five month spell as a free agent, Wrexham took a chance on him, before sending him to non-league side Telford United.
He played for Derry City in the 2018 League of Ireland Premier Division before making his way to Australia to play for Hume City FC.
But his spell in Australia only lasted six months as he left the club and remained as a free agent for a full year.
He then had a go at kick-starting his football career by joining Filipino side Global FC. And after initially retiring in the summer of 2020, he U-turned on his decision to sign for non-league side New Mills FC.
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