Sunderland and England star Jermain Defoe passed on valuable words of advice to Wearside youngsters on a volunteering programme.
The goalscorer was at the Stadium of Light as he met with young people who are taking part in the Prince’s Trust’s Team initiative.
More than 187,000 young people have now taken part on the programme over the past 25 years, with three in four people supported by the trust moving into work or training.
In Sunderland, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have delivered the Team programme to hundreds of teenagers and those in their early 20s, who’ve turned their lives around.
Jermain, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and whose former clubs include West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth, said: “I was brought up in a large family who supported me in my progression and love of football, and I showed determination from an early age.
“However, when I was growing up, it often felt like there was a lack of opportunities.
I’m a passionate believer that you can achieve more as a team than on your own.Jermain Defoe
“I used football as a motivator and I’ve been lucky enough to have a great career. However, it might not have been that way if I didn’t have my family supporting me. They really are part of my team.
“It’s incredible and really shows how being part of a team can change lives. My own drive has pushed me. I strongly believe that hard work plus dedication equals success.
“However, the teams around me have provided essential support. It’s the family, coaches, players and of course fans that have played a big part in enabling me to achieve my goals, both on and off the pitch.
“I’m a passionate believer that you can achieve more as a team than on your own, and the same is true for young people who are struggling to tackle issues like unemployment, poverty or family problems.
“That’s why I’m so proud to support The Prince’s Trust Team programme, which has helped thousands of young people to achieve things they never thought possible.”