FORMER Pompey player Jon Harley was guest of honour at the opening of a new all-weather sports pitch.
The floodlit 4G pitch at Bridgemary School in Gosport will be used by students and local clubs.
The £600,000 facility has been supported by the Football Foundation, the Chelsea Foundation and received funding from Sport England.
Harley, who played for Pompey during the 2012/13 season, said: ‘It’s massively important that there is an area to go out and play football day in, day out.
‘This lives up to everything that we all hope for our kids.
‘We’re always complaining there aren’t enough pitches for young people to play on. This is a really good 4G pitch.
‘It gets them outside exercising and playing football which they want to be doing and we as parents want them to be doing.’
Scott Sivier is the partnerships and transitions manager at the school, and has been heavily involved in the project.
He said: ‘It’s been three years in the making. To actually see it living and breathing now is a dream come true. It’s a positive teaching and learning environment for our own students and teachers at Bridgemary.
‘Because of the size of the facility, children engage and they want to learn. For the local community it raises young people’s aspirations, people want to come along and take part.
‘They want to be part of the facility, they want to join clubs and they want to be part of a good learning environment.’
Councillor Peter Edgar is the executive member for education at Hampshire County Council. He said: ‘I congratulate Bridgemary School on the hard work they have put in to achieve this excellent facility in this part of Gosport.
‘It will be a tremendous benefit to local people.’
Girls were invited into the school to take part in a football tournament.