Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) have signed former Premier League forward Gary Hooper ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season. The 32-year old from Harlow, England, has played for Scottish giants Celtic and Norwich City in the Premier League.
The prolific striker earned a place with Celtic in 2010, following his good form at Scunthorpe. The next three seasons at Celtic saw Hooper make appearances for the team in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. He also led Celtic to win the Scottish Cup in his first season itself followed by back to back League Championships in the subsequent years. The 2012-13 season was the talisman’s best as he scored 31 goals in 51 appearances and led the team to the domestic double.
This earned him a chance to play in the English Premier League as he signed for Norwich City the following season. Despite finishing his first year with Norwich as the club’s top scorer, a difficult season saw the team relegated to the Championship, but immediately they won a promotion back to the top division owing to some important goals from Hooper.
Hooper moved to Sheffield Wednesday on loan the following season from Norwich before sealing a permanent deal with them after a season in the Championship. The next three years saw Hooper work hard in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday before moving to the Australian League with Wellington Pheonix. His only season in the A-League saw him score eight times, helping the team finish third. Hooper joins the Blasters squad adding the necessary mix of experience and footballing expertise that will help the young team stay strong.
“I am really looking forward to the next chapter in my career with Kerala Blasters. I hope my experience can help the team and I can score important goals to help us challenge for the ISL title. Can’t wait to meet my teammates and start training for the new season,” said Hooper who will soon be joining the team for the pre-season in Goa.
“Gary has a natural killer instinct on the field and can score some unbelievable goals. I’m positive that our fans will soon come to love Gary for his high-level goal-scoring quality. I’m very happy to have a player of such calibre join the team and look forward to working with him for our upcoming season,” said Karolis Skinkys, Sporting Director, KBFC.