ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate has praised a new all-weather football pitch which has opened at a North Yorkshire school.
A brand new all-weather pitch was unveiled St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate by Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough on October 7, alongside two school staff members Max Mills MBE and Mike Knowles.
The project - which received high praise from England manager Gareth Southgate - was made possible by a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund.
Mr Southgate, who is also a Football Foundation Ambassador, said: “I was so pleased to hear that this pitch will help introduce five new girls’ sides and three new disability teams. Players who make up all our national teams have come up from the grassroots game and this pitch could produce some stars of the future.”
Harrogate Town AFC and Pannal Sports JFC will both be able to use the new pitch as a training base and St John Fisher’s pupils will use it for touch rugby and multi-sport PE lessons, as well as football.
Robert Pritchard, St John Fisher's head teacher, said: “Thank you to Andrew Jones MP, Mike Knowles and Max Mills for opening our facility. We are really grateful to the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.”
The school, West Riding FA and Football Foundation expect football participation to grow at the site - because of clubs’ use of the pitch for all training, and plans for introducing a number of new teams which should include three brand new disability sides, walking football, and eight new female teams.
The MP said: "This is a wonderful facility that will really benefit our local area, and I am so glad to see it already in use."