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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 15:55 GMT
Beckham delight at soccer school
Beckham with young trainees
Beckham trained at the Bobby Charlton Soccer School as a boy
England captain David Beckham has described the official opening of his football academy as a dream come true.

Beckham, who grew up in east London, opened another academy in Los Angeles two days ago and hopes to open more.

"I've got four or five years left, but this is the future for me," he said, adding the school would be open to all.

The academy, near the Millennium Dome site in Greenwich, south east London, will take about 15,000 boys and girls a year, aged 8 to 15, many for free.

Said to be the largest sporting facility of its kind in Europe, it includes two full-size indoor football pitches, classrooms, a dining hall and medical facilities.

This is the future for me, this is what I want to do - what I want to achieve
David Beckham

About 10,000 children will get free admission, others will pay for a three or five-day course in school holidays.

It is seen as an integral part of the redevelopment of the Dome site on the Greenwich Peninsula into an entertainment and sporting complex.

Real Madrid midfielder Beckham flew in from Spain on Monday for the opening.

He grew up in Leytonstone and went to the Bobby Charlton Soccer School, telling BBC News: "It's always been my ambition to have a soccer academy.

"This academy doesn't mean the end of my career, I have got four or five years left, but this is the future for me, this is what I want to do - what I want to achieve."

He added: "I never dreamed it was going to be as big as this and of course I want to open more around the world - as many as possible."

He has developed the training programme alongside director of coaching Eric Harrison, who as youth team coach at Manchester United helped a young Beckham, Paul Scholes, and the Neville brothers develop their skills.

Beckham added that the academy was not just about football, it would emphasise healthy eating and fitness.

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