June 15, 2024

Holiday parks company scores with football coaching programme support

A coaching programme to get more young people playing football in the Barmouth and Harlech areas, from primary school to adult level, has received a £1,000 boost.

Salop Caravan Sites, which owns Min-y-Don and Castle View Holiday Parks in Harlech and Llandanwg Holiday Park at neighbouring Llandanwg, is investing in  developing football in the Ardudwy area.

The football development project is being spearheaded by Iolo Peris Owen, former coach to the Wales Schools Under 16 and 18 teams in 1980s and ‘90s when the likes of Ryan Giggs, Robbie Savage, Robert Page and Danny Coyne were developing their skills.

“Over the past two years, the sponsorship from Salop Caravan Sites has enabled us to not only work with more players under the age of 16, but also to support girls’ football and increase soccer participation in the Ardudwy,” said Iolo.

“During the 2022-‘23 season, priority will be given to forming a development squad and an under 18 side at Barmouth. There will also be coaching sessions for primary school pupils at the sports hall in Harlech with the emphasis on developing technique.”

Dylan Roberts, managing director of Salop Caravan Sites, said: “We are delighted to support Iolo’s programme which is doing excellent work in the Barmouth and Harlech areas to encourage and develop young people to participate in football.

“Our company has always supported sports clubs and programmes that make such an important contribution to the communities where our parks are located.”

A retired headmaster, Iolo now manages Barmouth Football Club as well as running Hamdden Harlech with his two sons, Llion and Osian. Since joining Barmouth, he has revitalised the club which now has a competitive first team, development squad and under 18 teams to encourage more people to play football.

He has also arranged coaching for players in the under 15 age group at Ysgol Ardudwy in Harlech with plans to start coaching the under 13 age group next year. Coaching for primary school children from the ages of seven to 11 has also begun on Friday evenings at Hamdden Harlech.

Iolo is linking with schools in the old county of Meirionnydd with the aim of establishing an under 15 team. Trials will be held in Harlech and matches played under floodlights at Barmouth.

Having played football for Caernarfon Town and Pwllheli, Iolo also managed Porthmadog Football Club and coached in Austin, Texas for four summers.

“I decided that If I was going to put Barmouth Football Club back on its feet, I would have to get as many young people as possible involved,” explained Iolo. “It’s a common problem in Welsh football that there are a lot of teams with too many players over the age of 30 which stops young players having a chance to play.

“We are now in a position where we have an under 18 team and a development squad. Hopefully, we are reigniting football for young people. The average age of players in the first team is 21.

“As part of our programme, we are coaching in schools in the hope that more young people will develop to play for Barmouth. What we are doing well is attracting a lot of extra people to play football.”

Iolo is hoping that at least six players from Barmouth, who play in the Mid Wales League West, will gain the Football Association of Wales C coaching certificate to take over the football development programme to ensure the club has a solid future.


Picture caption:

Salop Caravan Sites’ managing director Dylan Roberts (left) with Iolo Peris Owen.