Young footballers are mixing with the professionals as part of special new coaching sessions.
Hartlepool Borough Council has teamed up with Premier Player Football Academy to provide training sessions with top coaches and players for children aged between 5 and 15.
Sessions are being run at Grayfields Recreation Ground by Andy Collett, who is also Hartlepool United FC’s goalkeeping coach, and former Middlesbrough midfielder Neil Maddison.
The team of assistant coaches also includes former Pools players Darren Williams, Paul Arnison, John Brackstone and Mark Tinkler.
Children were also lucky enough to meet Pools manager Neale Cooper during their first coaching session. He signed autographs for the young footballers as part of his visit.
Daniel Garthwaite, assistant recreation officer at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to have struck a long-term deal for the Premier Player Football Academy to hire the 3G all-weather pitch to stage weekly coaching sessions.
“We are keen to promote football to young people in Hartlepool as a way of getting fitter and developing new skills and there is no better way than to learn from people who have played at the very top of the sport.
“This coaching programme will complement a range of other successful football-related initiatives that we already run at Grayfields and we are confident it will be a big success.”
Andy Collett said: “We are delighted to be opening in Hartlepool by linking up with the borough council and we hope people will come along and find out more about what we are able to offer.
“We have given out free vouchers to every school in Hartlepool but parents must book places for their children in advance as numbers are limited.”