A NAVY Petty Officer is hoping to find common ground between students and military personnel ...through the beautiful game.

Lee Carrie, a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, has been working at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester for the past two years.

At the detention centre for military personnel, Lee works as a physical training instructor, helping the servicemen and women stay fit.

As well as being in the Navy for 18 years and serving in Plymouth and Portsmouth, Lee also has a lifelong passion for football.

The 43-year-old said: “Working at the centre gives me an opportunity to work with other service personnel and there’s no other establishment like it, it’s very unique.

“I also used to play semi-professional football for the East Thurrock team and coached in the Navy, I’ve played all my life.”

Lee, from Chelmsford, has also taken on an additional role as area manager for Leisure Leagues, which runs small-sided football tournaments.

Small-sided football has between five and seven players on each team.

Lee said: “It’s become very popular over the past five years and may even be overtaking 11-a-side football.

“I have a league up and running at Leisure World Tiptree, and have now secured a second league set to run Monday evenings at Shrub End Community and Sports Centre from July 1.

“This venue is home to a fantastic 3G artificial pitch that is owned and maintained by Colchester United FC, who have kindly offered us a weekly booking to run our league so we can bring the game to the community at grassroots level.”

He is on a mission to integrate military personnel and university and college students within the community.

He said: “The league is a fantastic opportunity for both students and military personnel to take a night off campus and garrison and enjoy a competitive game of football.

“Students play in a different way to military personnel so I think it would be interesting.

“Both students and the military tend to exclude themselves from society and it’s an opportunity to get everyone together.”

He has also secured an additional booking at the sports centre at the Northern Gateway development, which is set to be completed next year.

Team captains are encouraged to sign up at www.leisureleagues.net.