Johny Diba says “it feels unbelievable” to have signed a professional contract at the club.
The goalkeeper, who turned 17 last month, put pen to paper on Tuesday afternoon.
After impressing in the youth set-up, the former St Cutherbert’s RC High School pupil, made the step up to the senior squad this summer. After taking part in the first team’s pre-season training camp in Tenerife, Diba has been Dale’s number two and made his senior debut in August after coming off the bench at Chesterfield to replace the injured Josh Lillis.
Diba told Dale Player: “It feels unbelievable. I can remember coming to watch Rochdale games as a kid and dreaming of playing for the professionals with the first team on this pitch.
“I remember the last time Rochdale got promoted into League One I was actually the first person on the pitch and I remember running to Joe Thompson to celebrate our promotion. Hopefully in the future I can be part of the team that gets us promoted again into the Championship.”
And Diba says he is grateful for the opportunity.
“There are not many 16 year olds that get such opportunities, especially goalkeepers. I never thought that chance would come at that age [16 years old], so I’m very grateful.
“Josh [Lillis] and Conrad [Logan] are both great ‘keepers and I’m learning from them in training and I follow what they do. Steve Collis is a good coach who helps me day in and day out – he supports my development as goalkeeper.”
The full interview is available to view on Dale Player.