Getting to know. . . Brandon Griffiths
20th February 2016
As part of our Swans Academy content, we speak to an upcoming talent within the youth ranks at the club.
Next under the spotlight is under-18s striker Brandon Griffiths, who talks abouthis childhood switch from rugby to football, battling homesickness with academy life and how Swansea helped him achieve his dream of playing football full time.
As the season moves towards the final stages, a number of scholars are playing for the chance of a professional contract with Swansea City in the coming months.
With five goals to his name so far this season, 18-year-old striker Brandon Griffiths is one of those aiming to make that dream a reality.
The Cardiff-born player moved to Swansea at the age of 14 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
However, Griffiths admits his path into sport could have gone down a different route had it not been for the help of his Aunt.
"When I was younger I used to play rugby," he says. "I didn't really enjoy it because all the lads at the time were much bigger than me, but I did enjoy the aspect of being part of a team and all the running that was involved.
"I always used to nag my mum to take me football training instead, but due to her work commitments she couldn't.
"Both mum and dad were in work when the football training sessions were on, so I had no one to take me. Eventually, I pestered so much that when I was about eight my aunt took me.
"I was so happy to make the switch into football; I felt more at home with the round ball at my feet."
Griffiths impressed for a number of local clubs in the Cardiff area before the young striker's talents were spotted by coaches from the Swans Academy.
The teenager made the switch to Swansea and was awarded a scholarship with the academy just 18 months later in June 2014.
"It was a big moment for me to get to play for Swansea City Academy and to earn a scholarship here," he reflects.
"Whereas other friends my age were going to college or getting a job, I was joining a Premier League football club.
"I did get a bit of stick for coming from Cardiff to Swansea, but I didn't care. This was my dream coming true and I wanted to make the most of the opportunity I had been given.
"Cardiff will always be where home is, but my heart is firmly in Swansea."
The chance of a scholarship meant the young striker would move away from home to live with a host family at the age of 16.
Griffiths admits his time as a full-time scholar in Swansea did not get off to the best of starts due to homesickness.
"I really struggled when I first made the full-time move," he admits. "Moving away from home was really hard for me.
"Very early on I broke down into tears in the middle of training because I just was not coping well with the full-time move away from my family.
"I have grown up a lot since then and my character has developed both on and off the pitch.
"Coaches and players have helped me settle here, and as you get to know more of the players you don't feel homesick anymore.
"I have a lot to thank Gary (Richards) and Cameron (Toshack) for; they were coaching the Under-18s at the time and really helped me.
"It was their support alongside my team-mates, family and friends that helped me get over that massive hurdle when I first joined to get my focus back on the game."
This season Griffiths has been working under Chris Llewellyn and Eric Ramsay as the Under-18s began their first season in category one football.
A step up means the striker has lined up against some of the best young defenders in the country in what has been a challenging season so far for the young Swans.
"We are playing bigger teams and competing against some of the best players in the UK," he said.
"Everything about being in category one is better, but it also means everything is harder.
"It just means we have to work harder as a team to score the goals and earn victories. Compared to last season, we prepare with so much more detail ahead of games.
"The next few months are key for me and for a number of my teammates. As a striker, I thrive on confidence - I know I can score more this season.
"I need to focus on working hard, strive to up my game and constantly look to improve every time."