'Priceless' - Tyler Adams hails Leeds United action and tells childhood story in Whites surprise

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Tyler Adams has hailed a move by Leeds United which is helping the city's youngsters and has left a young Leeds coach beaming with pride.

Eighteen-year-old Brooklyn Nixon has been named as Leeds United's Community Captain in recognition of his superb efforts with youngsters in the local area, specifically through his work with the Foundation’s Premier League Kicks programme.

The Community Captain campaign is being delivered across the country as part of the Premier League’s 30th anniversary celebrations, with more than 100 members of the public who have made an outstanding contribution to their club and local community being awarded.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nixon started putting on sessions when he was just 13 years old, setting up the Saxon FC group to cater for Syrian refugees thanks to inspiration from his dad Jonny.

SQUAD: Leeds United stars Joe Gelhardt, below trophy centre, Tyler Adams, right, and the club's new Community Captain Brooklyn Nixon, right of trophy, join some of the area's footballing youngsters at Ebor Gardens. Photo by LUFC.SQUAD: Leeds United stars Joe Gelhardt, below trophy centre, Tyler Adams, right, and the club's new Community Captain Brooklyn Nixon, right of trophy, join some of the area's footballing youngsters at Ebor Gardens. Photo by LUFC.
SQUAD: Leeds United stars Joe Gelhardt, below trophy centre, Tyler Adams, right, and the club's new Community Captain Brooklyn Nixon, right of trophy, join some of the area's footballing youngsters at Ebor Gardens. Photo by LUFC.

Brooklyn himself then began playing in weekly sessions run through the Premier League Kicks initiative and the teenager was then offered a Leeds United Foundation apprenticeship when he was 16 years old.

Two years on, the former Richmond Hill Primary and Mount St Mary's Secondary pupil has become United's community captain and the teen oversaw a particularly special session on Tuesday evening.

Around 30 children of all ages and backgrounds set about enjoying their football match as the nets went up at Ebor Gardens.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But there was still room for two more players to join in, namely Whites duo Adams and Joe Gelhardt who paid the kids a visit and couldn't resist joining in the kickabout.

The Leeds United Foundation delivers free weekly football sessions and educational workshops as part of the Premier League Kicks Programme in some of the most deprived areas of Leeds.

For Adams, the session he attended brought back memories of his own childhood when growing up with his mum in New York City and the subject of helping the area's youngsters is one very close to his heart.

"This feels like my childhood," said Adams.

"Absolutely. Growing up in an area like this where a lot of the spots you can walk to, there's a local park there, outside my apartment complex where I lived was just a little bit of a park, a wall that I remember just passing the ball outside off all the time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It wasn't the best area, I couldn't walk to school alone, I couldn't walk anywhere without my mom.

"It feels like being a child again and it's good to come back and see that these kids are having an opportunity because I definitely didn't have this growing up in New York state.

"I was about an hour and a half north of the city so we didn't grow up in the city, we grew up more in the suburbs, but where I was just wasn't the best area."

Reflecting on joining in with the youngsters along with Gelhardt, Adams smiled: "I'll always jump in in a situation like this.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I couldn't imagine having a professional footballer come and give me an opportunity to play with them, hanging out with them and you're just seeing the smiles on these kids faces, it's absolutely priceless.

"For me, having an impact outside of the game is much more important than anything else and I can remember being a kid just like them."

After showing off their skills, Adams and Gelhardt took part in a question and answer session in front of the Premier League trophy after 18-year-old Nixon was officially unveiled as the club's new community captain.

Explaining his incredible story, Nixon said: "I'm obviously happy to have it but to me it's just my job.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I do these community sessions for the kids and you don't really expect anything back from it so when you get something like this it's quite nice to have.

"This is a session that we set up from Leeds United Foundation.

"When we first started it, it was an all Syrian group.

"It was mainly Syrian kids who wanted a place to play football and get active and be more social because it was their first time in the country.

"When we came down we just thought we'd put on a good session for them and get them welcomed and now they come back every week since two years ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Now we have got kids from everywhere, from Korea, from Africa, just everywhere.

"It was for Syrian refugees but now kids from the tower blocks, they walk past and say what's all this about and see the nets up and stuff.

"It's just nice to know that you can put something on for people and enjoy it.

"You just see more people playing football which means less time doing other stuff.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"To now have the Leeds United kit on and be Community Captain is just everything I ever wanted.

"I grew up five minutes away, I have lived here all my life and to help people in the community and do stuff with the Premier League and Leeds United, it's where I wanted to be.

"Now I am here and I just sort of do it!”

Explaining the nature of the sessions and how to join in, Nixon added: “It's got quite busy to the point where we have had to make two separate pitches.

"We get between 25 and 35 so we have always got a constant steady stream of them and I can only thank the kids for coming week in week out for that.

"It's just drop in football.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"All you have got to do is just come down to the session, we will sign you up and get playing.

"It's that simple really and I think that's why it's gone so well.

"I initially got involved with the Foundation when we set up our own independent drop in football group called Saxon FC.

"When we did that I was I think 13 at the time and I did that for two years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When I was 15 we got in touch with Rich Foye and Rich noticed that I had been doing it for three years just setting up.

"It was a massive team effort because none of us were getting paid for the three years, we just did it off our own back.

"I was then leaving school and he just came to me and said we have got an opportunity for you to have an apprenticeship with Leeds and do you want to take it?

"At the time I was at college but nothing was really clicking and all I wanted to do was football.

"I just wanted to be involved in football.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I think I spent one month at college and then I just took the opportunity because there's not many kids at 16 who get the chance to work with Leeds United. I needed to take that.

"I played in these sessions for about two years and just after I turned 16 they came to me with the apprenticeship.

"These are some of the best times to play football because there's nothing at stake.

"There's no promotion or relegation or no league tables.

"There's nothing on the line, just come and have fun, you can try stuff.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"If it doesn't come off, who's bothered? It's drop in football. Go for it.

"We do this one every Friday five till seven and then we do loads throughout the week.

"We do one on Tuesdays and one on Wednesdays at Saxon Gardens, five till seven and that one is in joint partnership with a youth club so after the kids are done with the football they can go there and have something to eat, a snack or drink or whatever and there's board games and a a bit of table tennis.

"It's beauty for them because they have always got something to do now and that was my dad Jonny's dream around this area. He just wanted kids to have something every single day of the week."