Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan had a ball today as part of an initiative designed to give young people in the city new goals in life.
Noel was one of the guests at a graduation-style event marking the completion of a 10-week programme run by the Street League charity.
Aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training, Street League uses the power of football to help participants develop skills such as communication and teamwork.
And Noel was quick to pay tribute to all those involved with today’s event, which was held at the Goals centre in Kirkstall.
The ex-United star, now a regular and highly-enthusiastic commentator on the club’s matches for BBC Radio Leeds, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “What’s happening with these programmes is really great.
“When things are going against you, it’s easy just to hide yourself away.
“I know that myself, from when I finished playing and couldn’t get a job.
“They are a special bunch of people here and the work they do makes a massive difference.”
Also in attendance was Max Rushden, one of the presenters of Sky TV’s Soccer AM series.
Soccer AM is an official supporter of Street League and today’s proceedings were filmed for the show.
The next of Street League’s Barclays-backed programmes in Leeds gets under way at Goals in Kirkstall next month.
It will provide the young people taking part with two hours of classroom work and two hours on the pitch each day.
They will learn CV writing skills and interview techniques and will also benefit from six-week job placements after the end of the course.
For further information about the programmes in Leeds or Street League’s activities in general, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the www.streetleague.co.uk website.