A PROFESSIONAL Hartlepool football player returned to his old school to pass on some of his skills to a girls football team before a big match.
Brad Walker, who plays for Hartlepool United, delighted the girls at Northfield School, in Billingham, when he popped in to give them a coaching session.
And his team talk appears to have paid off after the girls emerged victorious in the area final of the Kinder+Sport Football League Girls Cup.
Brad said: “The girls are a massive credit to themselves and the school so hopefully they can go all the way to Wembley now.
“I just told them to be confident and keep doing what they’ve been doing because clearly they’ve been doing something right to get as far as they have already.
“Before I left this school there were runners, long-jumpers, cricketers all coming through here so it’s a massive credit to the school and I can see some of these girls having good careers in football.”
Northfield School Girls are now through to the regional finals and will travel to Barnsley next week to play for the chance to go to Wembley.
All 72 Football League clubs have run a competition for their local schools with over 6,000 girls aged under 13 taking part in the group stages.
Hartlepool United’s Community Sports Foundation Coach Vicki Hutchinson hopes Brad’s session helps inspire the team.
“It’s fantastic for the girls to meet Brad, especially because he’s from their school,” she said.
“It’s all well and good looking at Ronaldo and Messi on the television and hearing their stories, but here is a normal lad from their area and school proving that they can make something of themselves.
“The standard of players we have in the team is phenomenal really; they’ve been joining in with the boys and some people ask whether they should or not, but often they’ve been better than the boys!”