During #GirlsFootballWeek, two of the Community Trust’s projects are celebrating the success of one of their participants after she signed for Swans Ladies.
A keen participant of both our Premier League Girls and Premier League Kicks sessions, 16-year-old Emily Richards has been picked up by the Welsh Premier League Women’s champions after impressing her coaches in the community.
“I started attending Premier League Kicks sessions run at my school when I was 14,” said Emily, who studies at Cwmtawe Community School. “I’ve been going to them for two years, and I also go along to sessions put on by the Premier League Girls project too, as it’s another opportunity for me to develop my skills.
“I enjoy going to them to improve all aspects of my game, but I also like the social aspect as we play with, and against, girls of different ages."
Fully immersing herself in the drills and exercises at the sessions, Emily quickly impressed her coaches, before catching the eye of the Swans Ladies set up.
“Emily’s progression over the last year has seen her become a role model and leader to the younger girls who attend the sessions at Cwmtawe,” said PL Kicks coach Rhodri Morgan. “She is very helpful with the younger girls and is always on hand to give them advice on how to improve their football skills.
“Emily has always been a very skillful player, but her skills have improved even more due to the fact that she also attends our PL Girls sessions. So much so that she was chosen to represent the Swans at the Premier League Girls Cup earlier this year, as well as at a few other events and tournaments we have organised."
Signing for Swans Ladies, Emily will now get a chance to put the skills she has learnt into practice on a national stage in the WPWL, while this isn’t the only major achievement that has come from her participation with our Community Trust.
“These sessions also provide people with the opportunity to win awards at the annual Community Trust awards ceremony,” Emily said. “Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to win Participant of the Year for the Premier League Girls project, so it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience.”
Aiming to use sport to assist in the development of young people in South West Wales, Premier League Kicks acts as a perfect platform for young footballers to participate in the sport, as well as to hone and develop their skills, with pathways to progress within the sport.
Additionally, the Premier League Girls project aims to provide opportunities for budding young female footballers to take part in the sport. Through these community sessions, the Swans have created a clear talent pathway, which is exactly what has happened to Emily.
Both projects have a proven track record of discovering and developing female talent, with Katy Hosford and Hannah Thomas both breaking in to the Swans Ladies squad in recent years after attending sessions in their local communities.
“Our Community Trust projects have encouraged many young females to take part in the sport,” added Ian Owen, Swans Ladies manager. “The relationship with Swansea City Ladies has inspired many of these young people to fulfil their ambitions and Emily’s journey is testament to that.”
To find out more about these projects and how to get involved, please email [email protected]