Harry's heading in the right direction - coaching wise!

Harry Thomas at Blaengwrach with Leon BrittonMany people across Pembrokeshire may know Harry Thomas best as a very good cricketing all-rounder with Lawrenny CC but perhaps what is less heard about is his involvement as a talented football coach with Swansea City AFC, Swansea City Community Trust and Haverfordwest County AFC.

It certainly keeps Harry busy but he loves every minute in all three camps – and he has received praise aplenty at the way he works with his young charges.
Harry has been involved in football since he was a nipper playing for Kilgetty before setting out in senior football as a striker at Lawrenny, where he plays alongside cricketing pals Joe Kidney, Ryan Morton and Tom Cole.

Started his coaching interest in college…

He began his interest in football coaching when he went to Pembrokeshire College to study for a two-year Level Three Extended Diploma in Sports Coaching and Fitness, the course gave Harry a great understanding of the basics of coaching and what goes on behind the scenes of many sports alongside football. Harry represented Welsh Colleges Cricket in Neath during his course in Pembrokeshire College and is very grateful for all the opportunities that the college provided. 
It was whilst there that he decided to volunteer at Soccer Camps organised by Swansea City Community Trust, which were held in Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock at the time.

“I started on a voluntary basis for around a year before receiving Swansea City Community Trusts Volunteer of the Year award, following this I got paid on a casual basis – and more importantly I realised that I had found my niche and knew it was something I wanted to do as a career.
“So after completing my college course and taking a year out of education to assess my options, I decided to enrol on a BSc (Hons) Degree at the University of South Wales in partnership with Swansea City Community Trust and the English Football League (EFL). With most of the modules held at the Liberty Stadium, alongside 3 residential visits to the Sports Park in Treforest”.
“It was a course with excellent practical elements and again gave me the insight into what goes on behind the scenes at a professional football club. Being able to study a full-time degree whilst actively shadowing staff and delivering sessions in the community really appealed to me and played a big part in me choosing this course over others. I would recommend the course to anyone and the lecturers at both USW and Swansea City Community Trust are fantastic. I’ve now finished the course and am pleased to say I received a First Class Honours”.

Harry Thomas coaching a class

Key work for The Swansea City Community Trust in Carmarthenshire . . .

From his casual start with Swansea City Community Trust he was recruited as a Premier League Primary Stars Area Coordinator for Carmarthenshire. “I’ve been working closely over the last few years with a number of primary schools across Carmarthenshire. ‘Premier League Primary Stars’ uses the appeal of professional football clubs, such as Swansea City and the Premier League to inspire children to become more active and lead a healthy lifestyle as they get older, alongside developing children’s literacy and numeracy skills throughout”.
“I deliver Premier League Primary Stars as part of the children’s PE Lessons on a weekly basis and also aim to upskill teachers throughout the programme so that they hopefully feel more competent and confident to deliver PE regularly. It’s a fantastic project that I am grateful to be a part of”. 

Swansea City Community Trust to Swansea City AFC. . .

As well as working full time for Swansea City Community Trust Harry also coaches at Swansea City Development Centre in Haverfordwest, Harry is now in his fifth year at the Development Centre and believes it is a fantastic way for children age 7-12 to receive a high level of coaching as well as increasing their opportunity to progress into Swansea City Academy. The Development Centre is run on the 3G pitch at the new Caer Elen School in Haverfordwest.
“The Development Centre is for players who are excelling in grass roots football and bridges the gap between grass roots and academy level” explained Harry, “players come to us after recommendation from their clubs, our own scouts or attend trials to see if they are ready for this step-up at the start of the season”.

Harry Thomas coaching at Hendy with Lee Trundle

. . . But still finding time to work with the Young Bluebirds

Alongside Harry’s work for Swansea City, he also finds time to coach at Haverfordwest County AFC Academy, Harry took the under 9s when he first got involved with the Bluebirds 5 years ago. Following this he was appointed as Head of Pre-Academy for two seasons developing children as young as 5.
“The Pre-Academy was a fantastic starting point for children as young as 5 who wanted to get involved in football and potentially start many years of academy football at Haverfordwest County AFC”.


New challenges ahead when football restarts

“After running the Pre-Academy I moved on to the under 11s (this season) and they did extremely well in their friendly’s against other academy’s across Wales, unfortunately the coronavirus brought us to an abrupt end – but I am delighted to be taking the team into the under 12s age group next season to carry on where we left off. Where the main difference for them will be that they will play competitive football for the first time.
“We will train twice a week and have a 30 game programme with fixtures organised by the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the aim is to qualify for the Super 6 at the end of the season and see where that takes us”.
After chatting to Harry Thomas for a short while you can see he is up for the challenge and eager to see his squad enjoy themselves and have another successful season for the Bluebirds. He also has great ambition to progress through the ranks at Swansea City AFC and Swansea City Community Trust respectively.

It seems certain that the future of the Swans and Haverfordwest County is in safe hands with young coaches like Harry working so hard.

Harry Thomas with his under 11s