Carlton Cole is playing a central role in showcasing London as a host city for England's bid to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The striker, 26 today, joined club-mates Robert Green and Matthew Upson along with fellow England stars to endorse the London United initiative. The campaign to promote the capital's football heritage is called Park Life and includes an exclusive film that showcases how football lies at the heart of London and all its communities.
The Park Life theme is integral to London's bid, designed to play heavily on the tradition of the classic kick-around enjoyed by young children and adults throughout their lives in any of the 278 London parks and open spaces.
Cole has many such memories from his childhood and believed the experiences he had helped him go all the way to international level. He said: "I grew up in Croydon and remember when I was younger going to the park many times, kicking a ball about with my uncle, cousins and friends.
"I think it is very important to have somewhere to play. You hear so much about young people and children not having that much to do where they live or the facilities to do things, so parks and areas like this are important to have. For youngsters who want to play football professionally when they are older, parks are where they can practice their skills and learn."
The Park Life film can be viewed now at www.england2018bid.com. Fans can pledge their support by logging onto the website, clicking on 'Add Your Support' then choosing London in the drop down menu for 'Choose Your Host City'. London is calling upon West Ham fans to help secure one million signatories as part of the campaign.