PREMIER League legend and former Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech had never heard about a town named Andover until three years ago.

Although he played in England’s top-division football for 15 years – first at Chelsea and then at Arsenal – he never had a reason to come to Andover.

But Andover has been a major part of his life for the past three years as he drives from his London home to North Hampshire on most weekends, thanks to his daughter Adela who plays for Andover New Street U18 girls’ team.

At New Street, Petr is not just a football dad, he coaches the young players, supports them from the side, and even occasionally wears his legendary gloves while taking part in charity games.

READ MORE: Andover New Street U18 girls team defeat Fulham U18s

Andover Advertiser: Petr Cech watching the Andover New Street youth game on their charity day on Saturday, April 27Petr Cech watching the Andover New Street youth game on their charity day on Saturday, April 27 (Image: Newsquest)

Saturday, April 27, was one of those charity days when Andover New Street organised games to raise money for several charitable causes.

Cech was on the sidelines too, coaching and cheering, as young Andover players took to the field to take part in the charity game.

He also took a few minutes to chat with the Advertiser, as he explained how Andover town has now grown on him.

Andover Advertiser: Petr Cech at Andover New Street groundPetr Cech at Andover New Street ground (Image: Darren Twigg)

“The first time I heard about Andover was when she [his daughter] came for the trial,” the 41-year-old said.

“It’s a 60-mile drive for us. It takes some time to travel for the training sessions, but I think that’s the commitment most of the parents have.

“When you are a football parent, you’re there to make sure that the kids are supported. You take them to the training sessions.”

Andover Advertiser: Petr CechPetr Cech (Image: Darren Twigg)

He said he loves the commitment of people at the club and credited the coaching staff, including Nic Turpin, who heads the New Street Girls U18s.

“It’s a club where Nic and everyone around try to do a good job, competing with academies. I know the girls enjoy it. That’s the main part,” Cech added.

Adela got to know about Andover when she was playing a tournament in Sweden where she met a couple of girls from New Street.

“That’s how they started talking about it,” Cech said.

“She came for a couple of training sessions and she liked it. It’s been now three years. She enjoys the experience here. It is a very well-run club and everyone tries to do their best and make sure that the girls can perform and enjoy it as well.

“You can see that in moments like this [charity day], people coming in and supporting the team.

“You can see the support the club has from people and how well it is connected to the community. That’s the main part.”

Youngsters were coming up to him to take selfies while he was chatting with the Advertiser.

Andover Advertiser: Petr Cech with the Andover New Street U18 girls' teamPetr Cech with the Andover New Street U18 girls' team (Image: Darren Twigg)

He was happy to pose for all pictures, but the 6’5 man had to bend down often to fit himself into selfie frames.

“It's part of my life, I got used to it,” he said, speaking about being a celebrity in a local town.

“But when I come here, I’m part of the team and part of the coaching staff and I’m a parent. That’s a nice bit of change for you to blend in and you become a normal part of the team. I enjoy it.

“Of course, I have a lot of experience and I can share it with the coaches and the players. I enjoy doing it.”

Andover Advertiser: Petr Cech giving goalkeeping coaching at Andover New StreetPetr Cech giving goalkeeping coaching at Andover New Street (Image: Darren Twigg)

The former goalkeeper, who has the record for most clean sheets in a single season and the most clean sheets in Premier League history, said it is important to support clubs at the grassroots level.

“Grassroots is mainly about how well you can support the teams and how good people you have in the structure,” he said.

“It’s all about people. You see that there are clubs that do better. They have better coaching and better facilities.”

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Cech, who made his debut with the Czech Republic in 2002 and later became a national captain, said it was different for him when he was his daughter’s age.

“My club then was playing in the top division. When you start, you always need a coach – someone who inspires you, someone who makes you feel good to play football. I was lucky, I had that, and it was an important start for me.

“At 15 I knew which direction I was heading. That was the first time I got called for the national U15 team. That was a good achievement.

“And when you compare Czech Republic to England it’s a different story. Here we have four professional tiers of football. And at that age, even if you don’t play Premier League, you can play in the next division. But back home, if you don’t play in the top two leagues, that doesn’t give you enough just to do that. You never know how far you can get.”