By Tony Dewhurst
Olympic heroine Ellen White has praised the inspirational work of The Football League Trust, following her guest appearance at the National Citizen Service Graduation Ceremony in London.
The England international was one of the stars of Team GB women's football squad that reached the quarter-finals of the Olympic competition at London 2012.
Ellen, who appeared at the ceremony with Team GB pal Steph Houghton, told football-league.co.uk: "The National Citizen Service Graduation was an inspiring day, and to hear so many amazing stories was a very special thing.
"We were honoured to be there, we really loved to be part of it because these young adults are an inspiration with their energy, ideas and incredible team work.
"It is such a hard age to be a teenager, so you need to be inspired and this showed everybody how teenagers can do just that with their marvellous work."
The Arsenal striker added: "The one thing that stood out for me was that so many of them said they had made great friends, people that might stay friends for the rest of their lives - that is a very special thing.
"I said to Steph that I wished that we'd had that chance at 16 or 17. The Football League Trust is providing that opportunity and inspiration to those youngsters via the National Citizen Service.
"There's an amazing energy about what The Football League Trust is doing - it is going out and touching these young people with vision and energy.
"I'd tell any young person that if they have a dream then anything is achievable in life with hard work."
Ellen made her England debut in 2010, scoring the goal of the tournament against Japan in the women's World Cup in Germany last year.
But 2012 has proved a golden year for her as Team GB caught the nation's imagination at the London Olympics.
"The Olympic experience was amazing - a once in a lifetime experience," she said.
"It was weird to go from family and friends supporting you in Germany, to a whole nation behind you.
"We are used to playing in front of a few hundred, but to be in front of 70,000 for the Brazil game at Wembley was astonishing."
The result was arguably the finest in the history of British women's football and a British record attendance for a women's game.
"I think it took quite a few people by surprise, but it has really ignited women's football in Britain and it proved a fantastic opportunity for us to raise the profile of the women's game and I'm certain we did that."