History was made recently at The Oval - home of Caernarfon Town Football Club - when the Welsh Schools’ FA team won the shield for the first time in 41 years!
The Centenary Shield is an international competition for under 18s schoolboys and college students. Teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland compete against each other in a round robin format.
The Welsh Schools FA is a national education provider, and its key goals are to develop football participation in schools and colleges, and inspire girls and people with disabilities to take part.
Wales’ final game in the tournament was against the Republic of Ireland. Wales won 2-0 to not only take the victory, but also the Centenary Shield. Grŵp Llandrillo Menai - which was the official match sponsor of the game at the Oval - had two members of staff and two learners as part of the set-up.
The team’s manager is Marc Lloyd Williams, who for the past 16 years has been a programme leader, lecturer and academy coordinator at Coleg Menai’s Bangor campus. Marc is an ex-professional footballer with extensive experience of playing professionally in the Football League with Stockport County, as well as for a few clubs in Wales. He is also a broadcast journalist in his spare time for the BBC and S4C.
Marc said: “The whole evening was an amazing experience, one that will stand out in my football career, especially as a manager. The feeling of being the first Welsh manager in over 40 years to win the shield was amazing, and to win it just a few miles away from where I grew up - with family and friends in the crowd to witness it - will be a memory that will stay with me forever.”
The team’s coach is Dave Webb, programme area manager for Sports and Public Services at Coleg Llandrillo, and the students involved were Coleg Menai Sports Science student Caio Evans, and Gruffudd Ellis, who studies Construction at Coleg Llandrillo. Both also play for Caernarfon Town.
Marc hopes for more success for the Welsh Schools FA Team in the future: “This success is a great reflection of the importance the college has been to the Football Academy, with players and managers shining on the international stage, not only this season, but over the years. The hope now is to raise the profile of the college’s Academy and discover more students who will shine on the football field at a national and international level.”
To find out more about our Football Academy please visit www.gllm.ac.uk/academies