In our latest series of interviews during the Covid-19 lockdown, we spoke to Town’s Head of Coaching Carwyn Edwards about his road from playing to coaching, the challenges of his new role with the Lakesiders and what the Academy are doing to keep in touch with each other during these difficult times.

It was 2018 when Carwyn Edwards made the switch to the Lakesiders and last year he was appointed the Club’s Head of Coaching so how did his football journey begin?

“Yeah this is my 3rd season with the club, even though this season looks to have ended early” Carwyn began.

“My football journey began when I started playing for Porthmadog Juniors and played all the way through the age groups growing up with my friends and we had some fantastic teams and players. As a youth I played for schools teams, North Wales schools and Porthmadog Academy. I went for a couple trials at League clubs such as Leeds United & Huddersfield which were great experiences.”

He continued “Once I turned 16 I was playing senior football, playing for Porthmadog, firstly the 3rd team as my dad ran it, then after a few games went up to the reserves, where we won the Gwynedd league. Which was a really strong league at that time, we had a great squad of players with John Bach and Psycho as managers. I was also part of the 1st team, who were in the Welsh Premier League with Osian Roberts and Viv Williams as managers. I then signed for Llanystumdwy where I played for probably 7 or 8 seasons. Won the treble in the first season and a few cups after that. Had a couple seasons at Pwllheli and Penrhyndeudraeth before I stopped playing to focus on coaching.”

Carwyn elaborated further “Whilst playing I was coaching at grassroots, started with Porthmadog juniors when I was 17 helping the U9’s and U11’s, after a couple seasons I took a break from it before getting back into coaching about 9 years ago, helped out at Porthmadog Academy and Llanystumdwy for a season before joining Bangor City Academy. I was at Bangor for 5 seasons coaching the U11’s, U13’s and then in my final season the U19’s. During my time at the club I completed my C Certificate and the UEFA B Licence and in the season with the U19s we won the North Welsh Premier Development League.”

So how did he end up joining the Lakesiders?

“That’s when I was contacted by Colin to take over the U19’s at Bala for the following season, we were in contact for a few weeks discussing the offer, I met up with him and Andy and after the meeting I thought a new challenge would be good for me and I accepted the offer, a decision I’m glad I made. That’s how I ended up in Bala, the club have brilliant with me since I joined, giving me opportunities and supporting my development, last season I completed my UEFA A Licence & UEFA Elite Youth A Licence with the clubs backing and I can’t thank everyone enough” Carwyn said.

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Within two years of joining us at Maes Tegid, Carwyn made the decision to accept the position of Head of Coaching in a fulltime capacity. Edwards told us that it’s a role he is enjoying but also finds challenging at times.

“The role of Head of Coaching was created for this season by the FAW. It’s great working in football full-time as it has always been my ambition.
This role is great and I’m enjoying it, but similar to any other job within football, it does come with challenges. My role entails supporting the Academy players’ and coaches development, talent ID & supporting the community in terms of local grassroots sides and local schools. It’s a very long list but the role is new and it will take time to see the development in all these areas” Carwyn commented.

“Introducing the skill acquisition program for the foundation phase has been beneficial for players development, this includes the Welsh way moves, and practices that have been designed by the FAW Trust.”

“The coach development program is progressing, it now includes an app I’ve put together for the coaches which includes videos of the skill acquisition practices for the coaches to access, and we’ve been filming their sessions to support their development and their reflection process. I’m continually looking at ways to improve the Academy and I’m really enjoying the role so far, working on developing and enhancing these programs while working from home during this time.”

Looking at the current season, Carwyn admitted it hasn’t been the best for the Academy as a whole but that there are plenty of positives to outway the negatives.

“This season has not been as successful as previous ones for majority of the teams as we did not qualify for the Super Six and the U19’s finishing bottom of the table but it’s a transition season as there has been a lot of changes to the Academy structure, new players and changes to the coaching staff.”

“Since the splits the teams have improved in the championship and the U12’s were excellent in the Futsal programme, topping the league and qualifying for the National Futsal finals, hopefully they get the opportunity to compete in this once everything gets back to normal” he said confidently.

We are currently in unusual circumstances with no football taking place so what challenges does this bring to the Academy?

“The biggest challenge is not having the contact with the players on the training pitch and not having games on a Sunday. This is out of routine for the majority of us and we are all hopeful this is over soon so we can get back on the pitch” Edwards stated.

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Even though there is no actual contact with the players on the pitch, off the pitch technology has been instrumental to keep in touch with players and doing to make sure they keep active.

“I have created a few challenges and a stay at home training program for the players to keep active at home. We have also sent them the FAW home based conditioning programme and delivered the FAW education program via zoom to the players. Some the coaches have done quiz nights with their squads which has been great to see” he added.

Just because there is no football taking place, it hasn’t meant that Carwyn has been able to put his feet up with plenty of work still needed to be done in preparation for the annual Academy audit as well as balancing family life!

“During the lockdown the kids have been keeping us busy, entertaining a one year old and a three year old takes up most of our day. I’ve been doing Academy work from home, getting ready for the audit and updating/developing programs for the players and coaches. In the evenings I take some time for my own personal development, I’ve completed a couple online courses and I’m attending webinars which are greatly beneficial” he explained.

As we came to a close, we asked Carwyn what message would he like to send to the Academy players, coaches and parents.

“I hope you are all safe and well during this difficult time, please keep staying home and hopefully this will all be over soon.”

“The sooner we can get back to normal the better, but in the meantime we will keep you updated with further developments and provide supportive resources.”

“If you have any questions or need to talk, please feel free to contact your coaches or myself” Carwyn concluded.

Carwyn Edwards – carwyn.edwards@balatownfc.co.uk

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