Reading legend Dave Kitson is about to launch his new football academy – The Dave Kitson Academy – in the Reading area.

Nobody has scored more goals at the SCL Stadium than Kitson, who was a star of the Royals rise from 2003 until 2008, going on to star for the likes of Stoke City and Portsmouth.

Now still a Berkshire resident, and a regular follower of all things Reading, the 43-year-old is keen to give back to the community that gave him so much.

The Dave Kitson Academy is from Under 9s (starting from age eight) up to the age of 22 (Under 23s).

Speaking on his time with the club, Kitson said: "Immensely proud [of his impact at the club]. Having spent five successful years at Reading, and not being from the area originally, the biggest lesson that I have learned as an outsider coming in is that you can still have an enormous impact on a community.  

"Reading is a big town, and a proud town, that has never been given the credit it deserves for a whole host of things – from the football club breaking the points record to the university being the world leader in climate change, to the many business parks operating as hubs for some of the biggest companies on the planet and being continually overlooked for City status despite much smaller and, frankly, less deserving towns being afforded that honour. 

"For years our infrastructure was sub-standard and our perception to the outside world was that of a dirty satellite town located somewhere along the M4 on the way out of London towards Bristol.  

"I can pinpoint the football club’s success in the mid-2000s as the turning point in Reading’s fortunes. It really did put the town on the map.

"The train station is now one of the largest hubs in the UK, the university is finally getting recognition for its lead on environmental issues, and world-class facilities such as the Shinfield film studios are close to completion.  

"The impact of the football club on the town cannot be underestimated."

Reading have a highly-regarded academy of its own, among the country's best and Category One standard.

The Cambridgeshire-born star is hopeful of creating another youth system of high standard in the Dave Kitson Academy.

"I want to help Berkshire become a footballing hotbed that provides good opportunities for young players to develop their football and life skills – and to be part of developing the best talent that the county has to offer.

"There are a huge number of grassroots clubs with tens of thousands of people playing football every day of the week. In terms of provision for quality, elite coaching, Berkshire does not currently have the footballing cache, nor the numbers of qualified high-level coaches that have played at the highest level, that can implement the very latest coaching techniques enjoyed exclusively by the elite category one academies in Britain. 

"My primary ambition is to establish an equivalent category one academy in Reading, with other hubs across Berkshire, that is accessible to every relevant age group."