Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Officer to coach Beckham's team

PCSO Andy Bridgman
PCSO Andy Bridgman is taking a 12-month career break

A football-mad police community support officer is swapping the beat for Los Angeles to become a coach with David Beckham's team, LA Galaxy.

Andy Bridgman, who has been a PCSO in Horley, Surrey, for six years is also a qualified Football Association coach.

A coaching scout for Major League Soccer called him late last year to offer him the job and he is taking a 12-month career break to accept it.

"How many people get this kind of opportunity?" he said.

"Not only to play football full-time but also to work alongside the top teams in America?

"It's fantastic. At first I thought, it's not real."

Dogged determination

Mr Bridgman established the No Cold Calling Zone on the Riverside Estate in Horley, a Pubwatch scheme and Shopwatch.

He also arranged football sessions with children from the Garden estate, Court Lodge and Langshott areas.

"I am extremely sad to be leaving Horley," he said.

"I wouldn't have left for anything other than this opportunity.

"But David Beckham is arguably one of England's greatest football players and the chance to be coaching him was just too good to miss."

Mr Bridgman leaves the Horley safer neighbourhood team on Thursday.

Insp Charlotte Rimmer said: "Andy has achieved so much and I know his enthusiasm and dogged determination will be sorely missed.

"I look forward to him returning once he's increased Beckham's goal scoring tally."

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