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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 13:24 GMT
Beckham opens his soccer academy
David Beckham
A sister academy is expected to open in Los Angeles
England captain David Beckham has opened the first of his international soccer schools in south-east London.

The David Beckham Academy was unveiled on the Greenwich peninsula as part of the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Millennium Dome site.

There will be two full-size pitches and 15,000 youngsters aged between eight and 15 will be able to train there.

The Real Madrid star said it was not just about creating players, but about creating fun for youngsters.

Now I am in a position where I can create an academy of my own
David Beckham

"I have to have total involvement and know everything that is going on - from choosing what wood we are going to use in the changing rooms.

"The Bobby Charlton Soccer school was so important for me because it gave me an opportunity to have fun and learn as a young kid.

"I always wanted to be a professional footballer and now I am in a position where I can create an academy of my own."

Former Manchester United coach Eric Harrison, who will be in charge of the academy, said the youngsters would get "fantastic coaching".

"The facilities are magnificent and it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said.

A sister academy is also set to open in Los Angeles later this year.

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