AN ABERYSTWYTH school will be among the first in Wales to deliver the new Lidl Play More Football initiative, an innovate youth football programme launched this week and supported by Wales manager Chris Coleman.
Lidl Play More Football has been developed in partnership between Lidl, the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust. Ysgol Penglais in Aberystwyth, along with four other schools from the Mid Wales region, will be among the first to sign up in phase one of the programme.
Lidl Play More Football will develop young people to provide them with the skills to plan, organise and deliver inclusive, fun and easyto- play football activities to engage their peers who do not currently play the game. An increased focus will also be placed on encouraging more young girls to participate in the sport.
The programme is the first of its kind to be launched in Wales and will enable 30,000 young people to play football nationwide over the next three years whilst also developing the next generation of coaches and leaders.
Research suggests football is the most in-demand sport for young people in Wales, yet 37% of young people aged 7-16 years old would currently like to play but feel they do not have the opportunity.
Lidl’s investment will create 1,000 young student ‘Directors of Football’, providing them with the facilities, equipment and training to enable them to lead and run football activities in their secondary schools.
The peer-led football activities will engage 10,000 young people in secondary schools across Wales on a weekly basis. Additional weekly primary school sessions, launching in September 2016, will introduce a further 20,000 children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy the game.
Wales manager Chris Coleman, speaking from the launch event at Dragon Park, said: “Interest in the Wales national team is higher than ever thanks to our qualification for Euro 2016 so it’s fantastic that Lidl, the FA of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust have recognised the unique opportunity we have to grow football in Wales.
“I’m delighted to see schools from Aberystwyth and Mid Wales taking the lead and becoming some of the first to deliver the Lidl Play More Football programme.
I’m certain many other schools will follow as a result. The programme can capitalise on our nation’s excitement to engage more young people to participate in football, through both leading sessions and playing. “I’m passionate about creating football opportunities for young people in Wales and so I’m delighted to give my backing to the launch of this smart new initiative.”
Jonathan Ford, CEO of the FA of Wales, added: “We are extremely excited to partner with Lidl, who are clearly committed to developing football opportunities on a local level. Currently, over 67,000 young people in Wales already participate in football, but the FA of Wales and Welsh Football Trust want to increase this figure to 200,000 by 2024.
“Through its ground-breaking delivery, the initiative will encourage participation of young people, including who do not currently play the game, and will also develop a new generation of young coaches and leaders in Wales.
“I’m very pleased to see schools from all over Wales taking the lead in signing up to deliver the programme. Tens of thousands of young people will benefit from Lidl Play More Football and we have no doubt that this programme will set the standard for youth football initiatives in Wales and beyond.”
Ryan McDonnell, Lidl UK Purchasing Director said: “This is a fantastic new initiative that allows Lidl to get involved in grassroots football, giving boys and girls the opportunity to immerse themselves in the game.
“Through our broad network of stores across Wales, we have access to so many communities and this partnership will allow us to build on that and give something back.”
By partnering with the FA of Wales, Lidl will also provide a platform to communicate the benefits of football to more boys, girls and their families, creating lasting and positive change.
Lidl is committed to supporting families in achieving a balanced lifestyle, helping children get active through football and offering fresh produce for nutritious meals to suit any budget.
For information on how to register for Lidl Play More Football please visit: www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/LidlPlayMore
Boxer set to compete in Germany
CARDIGAN light-welterweight boxer Ben Rees-Davies returns to the scene of his greatest performance this week (Oct 19-22) when he competes in the prestigious Eindhoven Box Cup in Germany.
Seventeen months ago, the talented 25-year-old acquitted himself superbly by winning a bronze medal in a tournament which invariably draws some of the finest amateurs in Europe and the world.
Rees-Davies – a lance corporal in the Royal Welsh Regiment – eventually lost in the semi-finals to Russian number one Arman Zakaryan, the 2015 European champion and an Olympic qualifier.
A series of injuries mean that the former Cardigan ABC man has not boxed since losing in the Welsh Championships quarter-finals in March.
But Rees-Davies says he is now fully fit, fuelled by the nagging belief he has never quite fulfilled his potential – and by the fact he may soon have to hang up his gloves.
“I’m entered into an 18-man strong group with boxers from all over the world, it’s a Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament so there will be a fantastic pedigree of boxers,” he told the Herald.
“I’ve had a few frustrating injuries since the Welsh Championships so I haven’t been active, but if anything it’s made me more hungry to get back in the ring and achieve big things this year.
“For me it’s a massive season, and it could be my last so I’m aiming to achieve as much as I can and show my true potential once and for all.”
Rees-Davies said the time was approaching when he would have to focus wholeheartedly on his Army career.
He explained: “I want to progress with promotion. I love boxing with all my heart, but I have to think of my career also.”
He said he was ‘eternally grateful’ to long-time friend Anthony Studley, of Hair Lounge 4 Men in Cardigan – himself a former Cardigan ABC boxer – for helping him with funding.
“I massively appreciate help from him and he’s a credit to the town,” he said.
Aber knocked out by Reds
Aberaeron • 1
Llanelli Town • 6
JD Welsh Cup
LLANELLI TOWN proved too strong for Aberaeron last Saturday (Oct 7), as they were knocked out of the JD Welsh Cup by their Welsh League Division 1 opponents.
With the pitch looking immaculate the scene was set for a memorable cup tie but unfortunately that dream only lasted five minutes.
Aberaeron, who have regularly conceded easy goals from lost possession, were left in no doubt that it should be safety first.
A cleared defensive header from an early corner for Llanelli should have been dealt with but possession was lost and a quick cross was easily headed in to the net.
Before Aberaeron could settle, Llanelli’s star player Lee Trundle beat three players to give himself a sight on goal and he thundered an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar.
Aberaeron woke up and Matty Davies was twice through on goal but no end product. Llanelli were passing well and Lee Trundle found himself one on one against Sion Clark. He turned cleverly leaving the defender in his wake and was unceremoniously upended for a clear penalty. Trundle drove it hard to the keeper’s left for number three.
Once more Aberaeron came in to the game, but passes were awry and often intercepted. A long clearance from Llanelli was not caught by Edwards, the Aberaeron keeper and the ball was easily tapped in to an empty net.
The second half was an attempt at a pride salvaging operation and Aberaeron gave a good account of themselves without finding the opponents net.
Trundle was kept at bay for the majority of the half but his trickery once more led to him being fouled in the box and he, once more, slammed the ball to the keeper’s left for five nil.
Aberaeron did get a consolation goal from the penalty spot from Matty Davies before another calamitous defending error gave Llanelli a sixth.
The score did not truly reflect the game but it reflects the ruthlessness of an ex professional striker who, clearly writes his own headlines- quite deservedly.
For Aberaeron, these are worrying times and the next three fixtures are ‘must wins’.
If Aberaeron cannot eradicate the problem of losing simple possession then it’s going to a long and very difficult season.
Aber climb off the bottom
Aberystwyth Town • 0
Barry Town • 0
ABERYSTWYTH TOWN earned themselves a point to climb off the bottom of the JD Welsh Premier League table last Saturday afternoon (Oct 7), as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Barry Town United at Park Avenue.
Both sides missed good opportunities to win the game in the second half, but the game ended in stalemate as both managers settled for a point apiece.
Aber manager Nev Powell made one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday’s Nathaniel MG Cup defeat to Airbus UK Broughton, with John Owen replacing Cledan Davies, which meant Mathew Jones started at left back for the first time in his Black and Greens’ career.
Both sides started the game cautiously, with the game lacking any real rhythm through the first 15 minutes. Barry came closest to opening the scoring on 16 minutes, as Chris Mullock somehow pulled off an instinctive point-blank save from Kayne Mclaggon’s close range shot.
Mclaggon was forced off through injury shortly afterwards, and Macauley Southam fired a long-range effort over the bar for the visitors.
Aber continued to struggle to get any threatening attacking play going, with Ryan Wade shooting well wide of the post on separate occasions.
The half time whistle could not come soon enough for the 233 spectators at Park Avenue.
The first 15 minutes of the second half again proved to be rather uninspiring for the neutrals, as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances.
On 60 minutes, Aber’s midfield maestro Malcolm Melvin, and soon after striker Craig Hobson were introduced in place of Ryan Wollacott and Joe Phillips, with manager Nev Powell looking for some fresh impetus from his side.
Aber began to slowly crank up the pressure on the visitors’ rear guard, as Ryan Wade shot straight at Barry keeper Mike Lewis, before Hobson almost converted an in-swinging Ashley Young free kick.
Barry themselves continues to look dangerous on the counter attack with the pace of wide men Tyrrell Webbe and Drew Fahiya, but on 87 minutes Aber again came close to the breakthrough as Hobson headed Wade’s cross into the side-netting.
Aber looked for one last chance as the game headed into three minutes of added time, and they very nearly found the winner in the dying seconds as right back Declan Walker brought the ball down from the sky and fired a low shot towards goal, only for it to hit the outside of the post.
This was another occasion where Aber have to settle for a point when it could so easily have been three, but manager Nev Powell will take encouragement from the organisation and defensive qualities his side showed today, keeping their first clean sheet in the league this season.
Town now turn their attentions to their next JD Welsh Premier League fixture away to Llandudno, on Saturday (Oct 14).
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