Teen footballer collapses and dies

HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a popular teenage footballer who collapsed and died shortly after a game at the weekend.

HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a popular teenage footballer who collapsed and died shortly after a game at the weekend.

Elliot Cooper was relaxing in the clubhouse after playing for Thorpe-based team St Andrew's Reserves at Mattishall on Saturday when he collapsed.

It is believed team mates went to his aid but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Friends of the 17-year-old have described him as an outgoing young man and have paid tribute to him on social-networking sites.

The Hewett School sixth-former, who lived in Norwich, also played Sunday league football for Norman Wanderers A and was a talented BMX biker.

As a mark of respect, all Norman Wanderers' games in the Norwich and District Sunday League were cancelled.

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His friend Sam Bezants, 16, said: “He always pushed himself to the limit when he played and he was always good at athletics. He was really outgoing and always made you laugh.”

Andrew Moffat, 16, said: “We were good friends and played up front together in the school team. He was really good and always said he wanted to make professional but he did not know if he would be good enough. He was a big Norwich City fan.”

Tributes on Facebook and Beebo included one from a friend who said: “He was one of my best mates and would do anything for anyone.

“He was also one of those people who were always there to talk to and have a laugh with. During the four and a bit years of knowing him he never got angry with me or anyone.

“He was a chilled-out young man on his way to adulthood and that was all taken away from him.”

Another friend posted: “Your life was taken from us all too suddenly. You were one of the greatest people I have ever met in my life and life will never be the same without you.”

It is understood the teenager had been fine during the match against Mattishall Reserves in the Anglian Combination Division 4 but collapsed shortly after the game in the Mattishall clubhouse.

Mattishall Reserves club manager Mel Harbour said: “It's absolutely tragic and we don't know what happened. I was proud of the way Mattishall Football Club responded. Obviously we would like to send our condolences to his family.”

It is the second time in a matter of weeks that local football has been hit by tragedy.

Goalkeeper Shaun Bunn was playing for Sprowston Wanderers Reserves against Mundford on September 20 when he suffered a suspected heart attack. Bystanders tried to help the 38-year-old until the air ambulance arrived but attempts to resuscitate him failed.