Cefn Druids FC have been awarded approval to deliver an FAW Licensed Academy for 2022/23 and this is the first stage towards the clubs ambition of gaining Category A status for the 2023/24 season.
In 2019, the FAW announced a series of changes to the game in Wales and we embraced those changes from the start, to compete with our local rivals. These changes have been significant to the way clubs in Wales utilise their academy and develop players. Little did we know that the changes would take two full seasons to implement and that COVID gave us the chance to make sure all systems were in place.
Cefn Druids FC are proud to say our academy planning and work has paid off as we have implemented the changes we aimed for. We’ve recently launched our blended learning online degree that provides the ability for players to utilise student grants and other funding. Players can start their playing career with us at 7 years of age and finish their education with a degree, as well as playing top flight football in Wales. Our training syllabus and development programme follows the example of most top flight teams in the English professional leagues and is player centric.
This is a full time programme and for players looking to continue a career in football alongside their education.
The overhaul of the academy started with the Reserves being renamed the Elite Development Squad (EDS) and a wholesale change to their training sessions and timings. The U19s were next and, owing to the success on the pitch, the die was cast, and the FAW have recognised that the club is performing to the highest standards.
Andy Turner was appointed as Head of Coaching and his remit was to deliver the structure for an elite academy that mirrored those of the professional English systems and fitted the standard set by the FAW. We now have substantial links to clubs in Spain and the UAE and the chance for players to travel between the clubs is now a realistic opportunity. Andy has since moved on from Druids, but his and the clubs efforts and planning have remained in place and we’d like to thank him for everything he did for the club.
Our academy is now on course to achieve it’s goal of being a Cat A academy and operate at a level equal to larger clubs across the border.
“Being recognised as a Category A Academy would be testament to the many years of hard work by so many people both past and present at the club and I’m delighted for everyone associated with the club” said Druids Chairman Des Williams.
The major advantages of being at the Druids Academy are many folds. From training three times a week, specialist sports science sessions and video analysis through to the educational side of a BTEC or blended degree, development camps and a player marketing profile. Players can come to the club and can play at the highest levels in Wales or go on into the English systems, such are the opportunities.
We are a club who pride ourselves on giving local boys a chance and believe there is enough talent in the region to really thrive. The Board have made a commitment to youth football in helping to achieve Category A and have invested in the infrastructure to meet the required criteria. The hard work starts now, and we couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for the Cefn Druids Academy.
More than just a football club.