Welsh Soccer System
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation concerning the player pathway from grassroots to the professional level in Wales.
I am going to deal specifically with the path for Boys as the Girls structure is slightly different and I will dedicate a separate page to outline this soon.
Whether your child is simply playing for fun or has serious ambition to become a professional, it is important to understand the structure, so let me begin:
A player starts his or her development at a local league club, at the age of say, 5, but equally, they can join any time.
If a player has the ability to go to the next level, that player may get an opportunity to attend a trial at a development center or advanced development center.
From this level, the next stage up is to be selected to attend a pre-academy trial and assessment.
If you are successful in the pre-academy structure, the next stage is to move to the academy level.
You can stay in the local league system and be a part of a professional club, eg Swansea City or Cardiff City until you are invited to become an academy player, which is invitational and you will be placed under contract, which will now prevent you from playing local league football, although you can still play for your school and at schoolboy level.
Schoolboys is a team of players who represent a specific area in Wales.
You cannot, however, play for your local team even when you are invited to the academy trials.
There is another pathway that a player can go down from grassroots level and that is to be invited to attend a League of Wales or Welsh League academy set-up.
To become a player in this set-up, you will need to be invited to attend an assessment and trial and if you are successful, then you will join the academy and in this structure, you will still be able to play in the local league and schoolboy level.
Examples of Welsh League academies within reach of Swansea are Llanelli and Pontardawe.
One final point about what constitutes an "academy."
To be an academy, you will either have to be a professional club, a League of Wales or Welsh League club.
There are no other recognised academies in Wales.
As always please feel free to contact me at any time: