Ceri is an inspirational coach for Young Bluebirds!

Ceri Phillips in China

Ceri Phillips is the hard-working Youth Development Manager at Haverfordwest County charged with the responsibility of bringing on the talented teenagers at The Bridge Meadow Stadium so that the club can continue its conveyor belt of local players moving into the first team.
It is doubly important now that The Bluebirds have re-entered the Welsh Premier League and when the new season eventually dawns he will look to use his coaching expertise to good effect, with Jamie Bessant as his assistant and Steve Batty as his excellent line manager.

Busy in other areas

Ceri Phillips poses with silverwareBut Ceri is also kept busy in other footballing areas because his work with The Bluebirds dovetails neatly another footballing role where he goes into local schools as regional co-ordinator for the Swansea City Community Trust as part of their ‘Premier League Primary Stars Programme’.
The aim is to stimulate the interest of primary school children with fun activities that helps them to develop footballing, numeracy and literacy skills.

“I am lucky to have terrific co-operation from teachers, who can also be shown how best to use the materials on their own when we are not there – and it is also great to liaise with some smashing characters like Ben Field, Matthew Freeman, Romilly Colville, Elgan Vittle and Craig Butland who work out of County Hall for Sport Pembrokeshire.”
Then there’s the weekly Swansea City Development Centre for Pembrokeshire which takes on a weekly basis which take place in normal times at Caer Elen School in Haverfordwest – and if that is not enough then Ceri helps organise soccer camps as far afield as Haverfordwest,  Carmarthen, Cross Hands, Swansea and Llanelli.

Started playing as a youngster

Ceri started his involvement in football as a young player alongside the likes of Danny Peters, Nathan Evans and Sean Seymour-Davies coached by Dai Phillips and later Rhydian Phillips at St Clears, playing well and losing out in their age-group cup finals to a Tenby team coached by Charles Davies and then a Herbrandston team looked after by Steve Batty.
"Then I have done the rounds a bit locally playing senior football for St Clears, Pendine, Narberth and Whitland. Sandwiched in there was a spell with Carmarthen Town for a while, mainly in the reserves coached by Steve 'Gas' Jones, but enjoying being called into Richmond Park to help train with the first team squad when they needed a full-scale practice."

Influential college days – and shadow work with The Swans

From there it was on to the  University of Glamorgan to study for a degree Sports' Coaching and Performance and whilst there he came under the influence of Dave Adams, a lecturer who has given him so much practical support then and ever since.

"I coached a lot of the time as part of my course and in my final year Dave Adams organised work experience with Cardiff City and I spent a fair bit of time at the Cardiff City Stadium, just opposite the Leckwith Athletics Stadium.
"I was allowed to shadow the academy coaches and learned a great deal from their working with some very talented young players who were eager to make it to the top in football.

"It was Dave who recommended me to Swansea City and I was delighted to be given the job, which entails delivering in local junior schools and contributing to the grassroots landscape in the area also.

Ceri giving instructions

Great experiences in the USA and China

If Dave Adams has been a major influence in Ceri's involvement there is no doubt that another life-changing period occurred when Ceri jetted off to South Carolina in the USA for nine weeks where he coached eager youngsters from schools in a range of places across the state, playing on immaculate pitches, inaugurated by the local YMCAs, with the youngsters eager to learn their skills as well as talk about what football was like in the UK.

Then in 2018 Ceri was invited to deliver on a two week coaching course for the Premier League out in China in the small city of Weihai.
"Coaching abroad has dramatically improved my personal skills and confidence levels meeting and working with people of different cultures. What struck me the most was how both countries were so impressed and grateful to have coaches from the British game, even if it was Ceri Phillips, a youngster from St Clears”.

Enjoyable work with Steve

One of the other interesting involvements for Ceri has been working alongside Steve Batty with The Bluebirds’ development team, made up of under 19 players and others drafted in from the first team after returning from injury or to raise fitness levels.

“It has been great to see the likes of Gareth Finnegan, Max Howells, Seamus Drake and Ryan Hughes having already played odd games for the first team, with Ben Fawcett and Jack Wilson scoring goals on a regular basis for Wayne Jones’ team.

And finally . . .

Ceri told us at the end of our chat: “There is a real buzz of optimism at The Bridge Meadow Stadium over recent times and going forward to a new season – and I am proud to be part of it!”
It is clear that Ceri Phillips, at 27 years old, has a passion for football which he loves passing on to eager children - and we wish him continued success in getting young players to develop at Haverfordwest County, and with others to follow as potential future stars with Swansea City - and to youngsters who just want to play the game and get as much enjoyment out of it as possible!

Ceri Phillips plays a through ball