Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's (GLLM) football team have once again been successful in gaining their place in the Premier Division of the English Colleges Football Association (ECFA) league.
It was quite a successful year on the pitch for the squad in its first season playing under the Grŵp Llandrillo Menai banner, with a combination of players from all campuses pitting their wits against the best college players in England and Wales. Grŵp Llandrillo Menai comprises Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor.
Coleg Menai's Academi coordinator Marc Lloyd Williams - who also manages the Welsh Schools and Welsh Colleges squads - believes giving learners the opportunity to play competitive football at the highest level enables them to further develop their skills both on and off the pitch by providing them with an excellent academic and vocational journey.
It was a step in the right direction for us as a Grŵp twelve months ago entering this league for the first time, allowing the Grŵp's best players to come together and play at an elite level on a regular basis and creating a pathway for players to further develop their footballing ability across all levels. A fine example of this is Coleg Menai's Cian Owain Williams who signed a professional apprenticeship with Championship club Swansea City in January and was part of the Wales u17 squad that progressed to the Elite rounds of the UEFA u17 tournament.
Five of the GLLM players were selected to represent Welsh Schools u18 at the prestigious Roma Caput Mundi tournament in Italy, playing against Moldova, Italy and England and for the Home Nations Centenary Shield tournament, with a further four players being selected for the Welsh Colleges u19 squad for their matches v Australia, England and the RAF.
As a Grŵp we continually have players who are selected to represent Wales at both Schoolboy u18 and Colleges u19 level and it is great to see a number of these players both past and present progressing to play at the highest club level in Welsh football for Cymru Premier or Cymru North clubs in our catchment areas along with a number of these players being part of Ynys Mon's gold medal success in last year's Island Games.
In addition to this, Marc believes that the opportunities presented by the sports academy provision at GLLM also contributes to the health and well-being of the learners.
Sport and especially football can play an integral role in the well-being of our learners, increasing self-confidence, improving concentration, reducing stress and anxiety levels, therefore enabling the learners to successfully combine their academic and vocational studies with elite sporting opportunities. You could say it's a marriage made in heaven for budding young footballers aged 16-19 years old!
In order to provide a structured pathway to the Grŵp's 'Elite' team an additional three feeder teams will play a significant role: a Coleg Menai/Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor combined team and two teams from Coleg Llandrillo will compete in the ECFA Championship and Development leagues which will provide a progression for players within the Grŵp based on their performances at each level. Representing the Grŵp's football teams at any of these levels within the ECFA structure will broaden the horizons of our learners and allow them to further develop their teamwork and social skills which will hold them in good stead in their future careers.
If you are planning on studying an academic or vocational course at any of Grwp Llandrillo Menai's campuses in September and would like to get involved in our sporting academies please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. To view the range of academic or vocational course courses we have available why not visit our website www.gllm.ac.uk