Ffion Bowen is doing just fine in football

Ffion shows a neat touch


Ffion BowenThere was understandably great excitement in 13 year old Ffion Bowen’s family earlier last week when it was learned that this talented footballer (and all round sports player) had been chosen to be part of the FAW Trust Under 16s Academy.
Whilst her selection clearly demonstrates her undoubted footballing ability it also pays tribute to the total commitment shown by Ffion and her family in pursuit of her dream to go as far as she possibly can in the game that she loves above all others, and has done since she started from a young age.

A very early start - and great support from school

From a nipper she would always have a ball at her feet in the family garden with her dad Lynn and then joined the boys’ team at the age of 5 or 6, who she still plays with now and looks forward to every training session and match they have with Liz Reed, who has coached her from a very young age, and Ffion will miss being able to play with her team and being coached by all the coaches.
Ffion lives in Narberth, attended Narberth Primary School and now studies at Ysgol y Preseli, where it is good to report that she has received every support, including the chance to have early release for her 200-mile round trips that take place twice a week to attend training sessions at the superb facilities at Ystrad Mynach.

Great success – and a first Welsh cap as reward

In April, Ffion was selected for National U15s Camp, which was a big surprise for her and  a massive achievement as she is still only 13 (until 14th September) – and she travelled up to Colliers Park in Wrexham, which was a great experience for her and she enjoyed every second.
In May she was selected to play a match for Wales U15s against England, something she could only have dreamed of a year ago. She was extremely nervous but excited too since it was such a big step for her.
She came on for the second half and gained her first Welsh cap and although they lost 6-4 they all played so well – but it was the whole experience of it all which meant more.
Unfortunately, her mum, Sarah Davies, and the rest of the family weren’t allowed to watch due to Covid but luckily it had been recorded so they were able to watch it all back.
As mum rightly says,
“She has learnt so much through these experiences and they have really seen her game improve through all the great coaching supplied by the likes of Nia Davies.”

Other sporting loves

Ffion presses forwardFfion has taken part in many sports and loves any kind of sport – and throughout primary school did gymnastics to a good level as a member of the Pembrokeshire Elite Squad, attending four-hour sessions twice a week.It was hard work but she passed her gradings – and it certainly improved her core strength!
She also swam weekly and played rugby from under 7s to under 11s with a Narberth boys’ team coached by John Lewis, as well as playing in the county set under the guidance of Kenny Davies as a speedy left winger.
But then she realised she would need to focus more on her football and give 100% commitment to that but has still found time in her cross country running for primary school and secondary, when last year before lockdown, she was representing Dyfed in the Welsh championship up in Brecon.

She’s really done well in local schools’ football

Going back to her football, Ffion trained with Swansea Boys Development Squad in Carmarthen for three seasons, which she loved under the guidance of Dave Reason, but she had to finish with them when she joined the regional team. She played both county schools with Angie Nicholls’ boys and girls teams for four seasons and she also played in the primary and secondary boys/girls team when Narberth School got to the final and won the Welsh Urdd tournament up in Aberystwyth.

“We qualified by winning the Pembrokeshire title and it was a brilliant day out, with a great atmosphere, and it was a nice surprise when we did so well because there were so many other strong teams from bigger schools all over Wales.”

Covid disappointment – but great memories of West Wales’ training

Last year Ffion was selected to play with Preseli School boys’ team to travel to France to play in the Mondial Pupilles Plomalin Tournament.

“It meant a lot of training after school to get selected and we were all really looking forward to it but unfortunately Covid came and the tournament was cancelled because of it!”
At the age of nine, Ffion had joined West Wales Girls’ Football in Cross Hands, run by Andy Jones where her skills developed really well and from there they put her forward for regional trials, where she was successful and has remained there for the last three seasons.

‘Virtual’ training followed by a great restart

Ffion is on the ballMum Sarah told us,
“The level of play is outstanding in regionals, and Ffion has trained in Ystrad Mynach twice a week with them, with additional matches to really test the girls’ motivation. With lockdown they really kept the girls motivated, doing zoom sessions twice a week, doing hit sessions, ball skills, and yoga to keep their fitness up.
So naturally, since being back on the pitch Ffion has loved every moment as well as the pleasure of being able to see all her team again.

“Meeting up with mates and coaches face to face has been great. You can see how much she is learning and improving up there, because the sessions have been fantastic.
Ffion has been on trial the last six weeks, and for her age she should be trialling in the under 14s Welsh Academy but they have been trialling her with the U16s  and she has attended the regionals twice a week for the last 3 years.

New challenge with Welsh under 16s girls

The set-up is changing and is now to be called the Welsh Academy where they are playing in the boys’ league, which means they will be having matches every Sunday against academy teams such as Haverfordwest County, Cardiff City, Barry Town, Carmarthen Town, Cambrian and Clydach, and Penybont.
It means even more commitment to the cause but it would be a step towards emulating her idols, who are obviously Pembrokeshire’s Angharad James and Joe Allen.  Angharad has done amazingly well and Ffion loves her strength on the pitch and how much of a team player she is.

And finally . . .

When not playing she loves going to watch football and rugby matches, supporting Wales in both but is a massive Liverpool fan as well in football.
It is clear that she is a very talented footballer but also gains a great deal of enjoyment in what she does alongside doing well academically ay Ysgol y Preseli – and we at
Pembrokeshire Sport wishes Ffion Bowen continued success in all she does, especially in her footballing career, which has started so well!