Former Aberdare Town boss Lee Williams is putting the emphasis on youth at fellow Aberdare club AFC Llwydcoed. As the two meet in the Aberdare derby this weekend.
Aberaman Park plays host to the first derby match of the season, with AFC Llwydcoed currently above their town rivals in the divisional standards.
But with a town the size of just 30,000 people, the player pool may be hard to come by but that hasn’t stopped Williams from improving the stature of both clubs during his time as manager there.
At both Aberdare Town and AFC Llwydcoed, Williams was allowed to revamp the clubs by introducing Reserve and Youth teams to the club, giving more playing time to players local to the area than ever before. As well as the Mens team, Aberdare also launched a women’s side along with Chris Churchill.
But after leaving Aberdare last year following the introduction of the sides, he’s continued the footprint he left in Aberdare with a side just separated by two miles.
The launch of such teams have provided a spring board for players to break into the first team and already this season the club have benefited from having such a structure in place, with four 16 year-olds making their debuts this season, with an average age of under 25.
“Our key focus is on the development of youth players within the valley, working hard to link with the local community and area to strengthen sport for everyone in the area.
We have a side playing in the Aberdare League with a very talented young group of players which is our aim to develop them and give them these great opportunities in such big games.”
Saturday’s game is part of a double-header which will see the first team and the reserve teams of both sides lock horns as the town turns out to see the two come together.
“We go into the game know how strong Aberdare Town are and the experience they have within their squad, but relishing this challenge.
Our game this weekend sees us Coed in a very exiting time as we have over 300 players now at the club from age 5 up, with a team at every age with a youth team and reserve team in the Welsh league system.”
For Williams, the task will be to ensure victory over the town’s rivals as the town will be divided into two but for the Llwydcoed manager, he’s ensured the town has two competitive teams in the Welsh League pyramid system.
“We continue to work hard off the field to develop and take the club forward,like our neighbors Aberdare have done so successfully over the years.
We can’t wait to challenge ourself not only in this game but for the rest of the year, looking towards giving opportunities and experience to our young squad alongside the more experienced players we have already within the club who are invaluable to our success for the future.”
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)