Joe Thomas & Joel Cotterill | Award wins a massive achievement
Joe Thomas and Joel Cotterill were delighted to cap off fine campaigns after the youngsters collected the Under-21s' Player of the Season and Academy Player of the Season awards respectively.
Former Cambrian & Clydach defender Thomas was chosen as the pick of the under-21 players for the 2022-23 season, while Cotterill was identified as the player to have made an impression across the academy's age groups.
Thomas has racked up five goals in all competitions this season, with his last coming at the Swansea.com Stadium against Sheffield United.
“It’s a massive achievement for me, from when I started nearly two years ago in the Cambrian and Clydach team and then actually getting here. To win this award is massive for me,” said Thomas.
“It’s been great in Swansea, working with the coaches and the players, I got on so well with them straight away. It’s such a nice place to live, it’s been a good year-and-a-half so far.
“Personally, I think it’s been a very good season for me. I think I’ve improved over the last season, and also as a team it has been a really good season for us.
“We’ve been putting together some good results, and we’re playing so much better consistently, so overall, it’s been a really good run for us.
The 21-year-old's impressive impact on the squad this season also led to the right wing-back extending his stay in SA1 until June 2024.
“It was a great feeling when they told me that I was improving, and I’m glad to have extended my stay here," he added.
Cotterill, meanwhile, spoke of his pride at picking up an award that had been won by Cameron Congreve in each of the previous two season.
The Welsh age-grade midfielder has enjoyed a strong season with the under-21s, skippering the side despite still being only 18 years of age.
Cotterill has been with the Swans since the age of seven, and signed his first professional contract last summer.
“It’s massive for me. I’ve been here since I was such a young age, so it’s an honour and it’s a privilege to play for the club coming through the ranks," said Cotterill.
“All that hard work and dedication, driving up and down the motorway, I want to give a big thank you to my parents for all of that, and getting me to where I am today.
“It’s a huge honour to captain this squad. Being one of the younger boys in the group, I think it’s massive that I get to be a leader on and off the pitch.
“I just want to say a thank you to the coaches for giving me that opportunity and putting their trust in me and, I think I've taken to it well."
With just two games of his club season left, Cotterill has his sights set on making his competitive debut for Wales Under-21s in their Uefa European qualifying campaign next month.
“I came off the bench in a friendly last month. We have a game coming up in June against Denmark and, hopefully, I can make my competitive debut," he added.