The provision of quality facilities is crucial to the development of young footballers, according to England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce.
The ex-England international was speaking at the opening of a new third generation (3G) pitch in Peterborough funded by the Football Foundation.
The new pitch will allow Netherton United FC to deliver their ambition of facilitating football for all throughout the local area.
“New 3G all-weather pitches, like this one in Peterborough, are crucial to the development of young aspiring footballers, who need quality facilities to train and play on,” said Pearce.
“It is fantastic to see Football Foundation funding making such a difference to clubs and communities across the country.”
Netherton United FC and Peterborough City Council – who invested over £700,00 in the project – worked in partnership with the Huntingdonshire FA to secure a £246,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
Along with the 3g pitch, which is available to be hired by residents and teams from across Peterborough, the community the facility includes a football development office and improved access and car parking.
The venue will also play host to The FA’s Football Mash Up programme, which in partnership with England team sponsor Vauxhall, is aimed at reducing the dropout rate of 14-17 year olds in football.
Ron Seddon, Chairman of Netherton United Football Club, said: “The project has already done more to integrate and encourage young footballers from different living areas and communities in Peterborough than anything else we have achieved in our 21 years of providing football.
“We are grateful to the Football Foundation and Peterborough City Council for making this happen.”
Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “This new community facility will be prized by the local neighbourhood and bring people together from across the city.
“We’ve made a significant investment in the project and it was great to see so many partners working together to make sure this became a reality.”
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity.
Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “It is so rewarding to see this new facility completed and ready for use by the local community.
“Alongside the Huntingdonshire FA, Netherton United Football Club and Peterborough City Council have worked extremely hard to ensure this project has come to fruition and deserve great credit for its endeavours.”
Find out more about the Football Foundation and the funding options available to grassroots football clubs at www.footballfoundation.org.uk.