Goal Click meets Luke Cheetham
Eight young people documented their diverse experiences of Premier League Kicks during the summer of 2021 through their own eyes and voices. The storytellers represented four club community organisations (CCOs) in the Premier League and English Football League – West Ham United Foundation, Nottingham Forest Community Trust, Luton Town Community Trust, and Pompey in the Community.
Premier League Kicks uses the reach and appeal of the Premier League and network of professional football clubs. Premier League Kicks will regularly engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and personal development – providing a trusted, positive influence in high-need areas across England and Wales.
Playing with Nottingham Forest Community Trust, Luke Cheetham wrote about his photos, football life, and the impact of PL Kicks on his community.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your football life?
My name is Luke, I am 12 years old, and I live in Sutton. I started playing football when I was 5 years old, when my friend invited me to some training sessions. I got the bug from then on and I joined my local Quarrydale team, and we played in the KickStart League. After playing 3 seasons for Quarrydale Rangers, I changed teams and played for AS Plant Mustangs for a season, where I enjoyed the different styles of training and played a higher quality of football.
Unfortunately, due to them changing the league that they played in, I had to stop as it was too far for me and my family to travel each week. I really enjoyed playing as part of a team, made some new friends along the way and I looked forward to the games each week. I also represented my Primary School in the football team on several occasions where we played against other local Primary Schools. I started attending Kicks from the first session available at Sutton Lawn a few weeks ago.
Who is in these photos? Do any of the people have interesting stories?
In some photos I am with two of my new school friends who also go to PL Kicks. One of those friends actually plays for another local team, but I am not sure what his football history is as I haven’t known him long enough. They are both friends that I have made since joining Secondary School. There are also other players who go to PL Kicks each week. I have enjoyed the opportunity to make other new friends along the way.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
The photos were taken on the 3G pitches at Sutton Lawn Recreation Ground, which is close to where I live and therefore easy to get to and an excellent place to train as the pitches are always well kept. Some of the photos show the football game that we were all playing.
I wanted to show my friends that go to Kicks – we were watching another game that was happening at the time. The photos also show that anyone can go and play football with Kicks. It’s fun, we get to play a lot of games, and everyone has a good time.
Football is good for my community because it gives young people something to do, and it keeps them fit and healthy.
What does football mean to you? What ambitions do you have for the future?
I love playing football. I like being part of a team and making new friends. It makes me very happy when I play. I enjoy spending time with my friends and keeping fit. I would like to learn more skills and become a professional footballer one day.
How does taking part in Kicks make you feel? What do you like most?
I always look forward to Monday nights when I know it is football time. I am always eager to get my boots on and get running onto the pitch. As the 3G pitch where we play is relatively close to me, it gives me the chance to go each week and have fun, learn more skills, and spend some time away from school with my friends. It has also enabled me to play with other young people who I would not usually play football with. As we all get on it’s always a very good night.
As I have only played football in a league with other children the same age as me, I wouldn’t usually play football with older people. But as the sessions are open to a wide age range and both girls and boys attend, it has given me the ability to mix and play more with different people.
What impact has the Nottingham Forest programme had on you?
The Kicks sessions have given me the opportunity to interact with other young people of varying ages in my community and they have helped me to gain more confidence going forward.
As I no longer play for a team, the programme has enabled me to play football each week with other young people in my community who I would not usually play with. It has helped me make other new friends other than my school friends and it is something that I hope will continue.
There is also a training session for girls which takes place before I play with Kicks on a Monday evening. At PL Kicks there are boys and girls who play each week, and it is good that we can all play well together.
What do you think the future looks like for football in Nottinghamshire and England? What do you want to change?
I think football looks very good in the future for England and Nottinghamshire. There will always be new players coming through the Academies and Kicks provides young people in local communities the opportunity to enjoy such a good sport.
Given the opportunity I would change the fact that often the local leagues are spread out over a distance which means a lot of travelling and time commitments for my parents. It would be excellent if there was an opportunity to have more sessions like Kicks available in my area.
To view all of Luke’s photos, head to the Goal Click blog.