Swans make strides with pre-academy
Swansea City has this season taken steps to help find more young grass roots footballers across south Wales and help them become academy players.
New coach Abbie Sadler joined the academy’s coaching ranks this summer as Assistant Head of Foundation after working at Bristol City as a community coach.
Sadler, who hails from Gloucester, also spent four years working with the English FA’s skills programme where she worked with young players in schools, clubs and development centres.
The 27-year-old now oversees the clubs pre-academy set-up to help the Swans find local young players from age five to eight with the aim of developing many into foundation phase players at Landore.
“There is a great environment here at the academy,” she said. “It has been good to get going and settle into the job in the last few months.
“At a pre-academy level we have players ranging from an U5 to U8 level whose talents have been recognised at our development centres across south Wales.
“We aim to help develop these young players further so they can progress to the academy’s foundation phase at an U9 level and beyond.”
Sadler took on the role at the Swans with the help of an initiative through the Premier League which aims at getting more women working at an academy level in football.
Part of her role will also be to help deliver coaching sessions at a foundation level to assist the young players making the transition into the academy.
“It is good to work across both set-ups of the pre-academy and the academy’s foundation phase,” she continued.
“It helps me see what is needed from the U8s before they become a full part of the academy.
“I want to bring in some talented young players and help as many as possible progress to the foundation phase, meaning Swansea City have a wider pool of local players.
“It is exciting to find a home-grown player at age six or seven and help them develop the Swansea way – it is better than bringing a player at age 15 and re-developing them the way you want them to play.”
“We aim to develop as many young players as possible from a grassroots level to progress right through the age groups at the academy."