Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

The talented Wrexham youth footballer playing for Wales and rubbing shoulders with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney

29 Mar 2023 4 minute read
Cai Lloyd Evans

A young football star has the world at his feet after playing for Wales and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood club owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Cai Lloyd Evans, 17, who lives in Bangor and plays football for the Wrexham AFC youth team, was a member of the 20-strong Wales Schools Under 18 squad who took part in the 2023 Roma Caput Mundi tournament in Italy.

Cai, who is studying sports psychology at Coleg Menai in Llangefni has been a member of the Wrexham Youth set up for the past seven years travelling regularly to the Racecourse ground for training and playing games in the National League Alliance Under-19’s Division H.

So far this season Cai has played six games in the League and three in cup competitions.

He has also met Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, the Hollywood actors, who purchased the club two years ago.

Cai said: “They came to the training ground and we were all presented to them and we shook hands. They asked us about the games we played and seemed very interested.”

Cai explained that Ryan and Rob’s influence has been significant at the club and standards and expectations had been raised considerably in the past 18 months.

The Italy trip was the first time Cai had been abroad in his footballing career but he’s determined it won’t be his last.

He said: “It was a really good trip and a great experience.”

The strapping six-foot centre back played in all three games with the team during the week-long UEFA recognised tournament.

Eight international teams were split into two groups with Wales lined up with Canada, San Marino and Lazio, a local team from Rome.

Although the Welsh team did not win any trophies, everyone played well and enjoyed themselves.

Sightseeing

Cai said: “We were a goal up against Lazio in the first game but they equalised in the last few minutes so it was a draw at full time.

“We lost by two goals to nil against San Marino and by three goals to two against Canada.”

Cai played the full 90 minutes of the first two games and 30 minutes as a second half substitute in the third match.

After jetting off to Italy the squad went first to Bologna, Cai and the team were able to make use of sportswear company Macron’s training grounds.

Cai said: “The facilities are excellent and the first time we had a training session about 200 people turned up to watch, that has never happened at Wrexham before.”

Then the squad moved to Rome where they played their matches at the Borghesiana complex, the training headquarters of the Italian national football team in Rome.

The team were able to go sightseeing in the Eternal City and sat on the famous Spanish Steps and threw coins into the Trevi fountain.

Cai added: “We had an opportunity to visit the Stadio Olympico where the Italian international team play their matches as well as being the ground for Lazio and Roma. The stadium was used for the 1960 Olympic Games and has these huge statues all around it.

“We saw the changing rooms and went out and had a look at the pitch and had some photos taken. They were preparing the ground for a match so we weren’t able to go on the grass for a kick about.”

The squad is run by the Welsh Schools Football Association and is managed by Marc Lloyd Williams.

In his younger days Marc was a prolific striker who played professionally for various clubs in the English and Welsh leagues before turning to management and is regularly heard commenting on games on television and radio.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.