Kofi Balmer 'feels amazing' after making dream move to Crystal Palace
Kofi Balmer said he felt "amazing" after completing his move to Crystal Palace.
Balmer has had a meteoric rise in the Irish League since making his debut for Ballymena United as a 16-year-old.
He quickly became a first team regular with the Sky Blues before moving to Inver Park last summer.
The 21-year-old made over 40 appearances for Larne and helped them secure a spot in the Europa Conference League qualifiers and County Antrim Shield success.
The next step on the defender's footballing journey sees him join the Under-21 set-up at Selhurst Park and Balmer said he "couldn't have asked for anything better."
"It's surreal. I feel amazing," he told the Crystal Palace website.
"It's every boy's dream to play football professionally, but to come to a club like Crystal Palace with all the top quality facilities – I couldn't have asked for anything better."
Balmer is yet to play for the Northern Ireland senior side but was called into a training camp for Ian Baraclough’s sside at the end of last season.
He has however made 17 appearances at international level for the Under-19s and Under-21s.
Eagles Academy Director Gary Issott said he fits the profile of the player the club want.
“We are delighted to welcome Kofi to the club," he said.
“He fits the profile of young, hungry and talented players that we want at the club and he has already amassed a wealth of experience in Northern Ireland for both Larne and Ballymena.
“He joins a talented U21s squad and will provide stiff competition in the defensive area of the team.”
Larne boss Tiernan Lynch said the club were sad to lose a player of Balmer's quality but paid tribute to the defender saying he had "very much earned" the move.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose a player of Kofi’s quality, but this is a move he has very much earned," he told the Larne website.
“He is a quality young player and someone who has demonstrated that throughout his time at the club. He has been an important part of our defence during his Larne career, and has also popped up with some important goals.
“Kofi came into work everyday with a determination to improve his game and has got his reward with this next step on his journey. He has a great attitude and that will serve him well for the rest of his career.
“Already having a couple of hundred games in senior football is important and will also serve him in good stead.
“It is also a reminder of how much full-time football can benefit a player and help them progress, preparing Kofi for a move to a Premier League club in England.
“We wish Kofi all the very best at Crystal Palace and will obviously be watching on as his career continues to progress.”