Joe Cooper on his shock departureJoe Cooper has been explaining why he is swopping the training ground for the lecture theatre after deciding to quit Latics for a return to full-time education.
The 18-year-old (pictured), who made his first-team debut at Shrewsbury Town in April, admitted it was a bombshell to Latics' manager Lee Johnson as well as his family.
Springhead-based Cooper, who has been at Boundary Park since the age of 10, said: "My family were initially shocked and upset when I told them the news, but they are backing me 100-per-cent.
"I have always been interested in going to university. It is not something I have rushed into and have been thinking about it long and hard for some time."
Cooper, a former pupil at Woodhouses Primary and Saddleworth School, is taking a degree in economics at Leeds Metropolitan University starting on Monday.
He continued: "I feel football may not be for me in the long term and you need to be 100-per-cent committed to play at the highest level.
"I have always been interested in financial matters and taking an economics degree will hopefully open a lot of doors.
"I don't know where it will take me, but hopefully I will start my own business one day."
Cooper, who intends to continue playing football at university and may be also non-league, did well gaining A star, A and B grades in his GCSE's at Saddleworth School. And while at Latics he has gained a Level Three Extended Diploma in Sport at Oldham College.
He admitted it is a new chapter in his life which he is looking forward to with great excitement.
Cooper, who began his playing days with Failsworth Dynamos, says he looks back on almost nine years at Latics with great affection.
He said: "I have been at the club since I was aged 10 so it has been a massive part of my life.
"I will always remember the club and would like to thank them for all the hard work they did helping me develop into the player I am today."