Just as you’re never too old to learn a new skill, you’re never too young either.
That’s the reasoning behind a new soccer club aimed specifically at two to six-year-olds which is being run by a former football ace.
Richard Graham, who used to play for Oldham Athletic, and partner Kirsty Hall decided to set up Striker Tots when they realised there was nothing to help their children Kieran, three, and Abbie, two, hone their soccer skills.
Their new venture will help toddlers and young children learn to dribble and correct their balance while shooting into different coloured goals, as well as other basic football skills to put them in good stead for when they’re older.
Richard, 36, said: “I think when you’re younger the more you keep doing things again and again the more you pick up and the quicker you learn new skills.
“Despite my background I’ve not forced my children into football. It’s just something they’ve picked up and enjoy doing, and I’ve just not stopped them.
“All my little lad wants to do, morning, noon and night, is kick a ball about.”
Richard, who lives in Morley, started at Oldham Athletic when he left school in 1991 and the team was in the Premier League.
He played 180 professional games and was even a substitute for the England Under 21s team.
He was forced to retire after nine years on the pitch because of a serious knee injury and now works as a van driver.
He said: “Football is what I’ve always wanted to do so it would be great if this was my way back into it. I just hope that by helping children at such a young age it will help them get a kick start into it. You never know, we could help create some stars.”
So far Richard and Kirsty have arranged Striker Tots sessions at Howden Clough Community Centre in Birstall, PJs Gym in Cleckheaton, the Options Centre in Dewsbury, Churwell Community Centre and St Andrew’s Church Hall in Morley, the Village Hotel in Tingley, Total Fitness in Ossett and East Ardsley Methodist Church, all starting in June.