Soccer AM presenter Max Rushden and former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan became football managers for the day to help celebrate Street League Leeds’ Academy graduation, supported by Barclays.

Max, a Street League ambassador since 2013 and big supporter of the charity, and Noel spent time talking to the Academy graduates in the classroom, before taking charge of opposing teams in a tightly-contested match shown on Soccer AM.

Max’s team grabbed a late goal to win 3-2 but it was the impact the charity has when helping unemployed young people get into work and training, which really impressed Noel.

“I think it's fantastic - what you guys do is just immense,” he said. “It's been a pleasure for me to come down and be a part of this today. Thanks for having me here!”

To watch the video, click here.

Barclays supports Street League as part of their 5 Million Young Futures commitment – a goal to help five million young people gain the enterprise, employability and financial skills they need to achieve their ambitions.

On the Academy programme, unemployed young people aged 16 to 24 acquire key employability skills, such as goal-setting, teamwork and communication, and undergo mock interview and CV-writing sessions with volunteer staff from companies which support Street League.

Stella, a recent Academy graduate, told Soccer AM: “Street League really helped me because before I was so closed. They helped me with my confidence and communication. Now I can talk like I'm doing now whereas before it was not like that.” 

Ryan, another Academy graduate from the programme, could not speak highly enough of the charity and the work they do. He believes that 16 to 24-year-olds who are struggling to find a job should consider joining the Academy programme.

He said: “It's definitely worth doing. It's fun, enjoyable and you have a great time. You also meet great people and play football as well, which is the biggest thing for me.”

Following the match, Stella shared the news that she had been offered a job just before kick-off. Clearly delighted, she broke into a celebratory dance and received a well-deserved round of applause.