Ryman League Division One North club Heybridge Swifts have confirmed the signing of keeper Sam Cowler from Barnet.
The former West Ham United youth apprentice has been at the Texo Stadium during pre-season and has featured in the friendlies including the first half against Colchester United.
Cowler played for Frinton & Walton YFC before signing a youth scholarship with West Ham United in 2009. He then spent time on loan with the youth teams of Wycombe Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers, Yeovil Town and Barnet before being released in May 2012 – his only appearance in a first-team squad coming when he was on the bench for a Carling Cup game against Aldershot Town on 24 August 2011.
Having previously spent time on loan in their youth team, in June 2012 he signed for Barnet.
Cowler made his debut for Barnet in September 2012 in a 2–1 away defeat to Fleetwood Town, coming on as a 24th minute replacement for Ahmed Abdulla as a result of first choice goalkeeper Graham Stack being sent off.
In July 2013, Cowler announced his departure from Barnet as he wanted first-team football and was unable to displace the reliable Graham Stack as first choice.The following month, he signed for Bishop’s Stortford on a one-year deal.
Cowler re-joined Barnet on a one-year deal in August 2014, once again as backup to Stack. Cowler’s only appearances in the 2014/15 season came in an FA Trophy tie against Concord Rangers and the subsequent replay defeat, but he was still awarded a league winner’s medal following a successful season for the Bees.
He left The Hive at the end of last season and has been involved between the sticks during pre season with Swifts.
Manager Cliff Akurang is clearly delighted at the signing, saying: ”I’m delighted to have Sam on board from last season`s Conference champions Barnet, He’s a player who is proven and still a young player in the prime of his career.”
Akurang himself is a former Barnet player from the Underhill days and a professional which is something he has seen in Cowler, he continued: ”He’s a fantastic person and an unbelievable pro and I hope all the Heybridge fans give him a warm welcome. I think he will be a huge player for Heybridge this season and could really make a huge difference.”