New S4C documentary follows three talented young footballers hoping to make the grade as professionals
A new S4C documentary follows the fortunes of three talented young footballers hoping to achieve their dream and sign professional contracts with Swansea City.
Bois yr Academi goes behind the scenes at the Championship club’s state-of-the-art Landore academy complex to tell the story of Iwan Morgan, Dylan Pritchard and Yori Griffith, who are hoping to beat the odds and become one of the 1% of academy players who make it as a professional.
Over 200 boys and girls aged from five to 18 attend the academy, which has been a breeding ground for some of Welsh football’s greatest talents over the decades.
The documentary follows the three hopefuls, who are at different stages of their development, and speaks to their parents, who spend a great deal of time and money travelling to midweek training sessions and weekend matches across the UK.
The academy’s coaches, who aim to bring the best out of each player and find the next first team star, also share their insights.
Jon Grey, Swansea City Academy Manager, said: “The sacrifices the parents make are unbelievable. The financial burden it puts on them, the sacrifice and the commitment they show for their children to try and live out their dream, is unbelievable.
“The stadium is there in sight. They want to make that journey from here at the academy, to there. There’s no greater inspiration of getting where they want to go, than seeing it every time they come here.
“It’s a short journey but it could be a very long one.”
Iwan, from Cardiff, is 15 years old but is already a part of the Under 18s team, where he plays as a striker.
He said: “I love football and there is nothing better than going to the academy after school on a Monday to play.
“I don’t enjoy school or education, and I love football, so I can’t see what else I could do in the future.
“There’s no Plan B – it’s Plan A or nothing for me.”
Dylan, aged 11, from Tresaith, plays as a goalkeeper for the Under 12s side.
He said: “There’s a lot of pressure on the goalkeeper. One mistake and we could lose the game, so I need to be at the top of my game.”
Yori, aged 15, from Haverfordwest, is a winger for the Under 16s side.
After spending time on the sidelines with injury, Yori faces an anxious wait to see if he will be kept on at the academy at the end of the year.
He said: “Having injuries makes me realise that’s why I need a Plan B.
“My Plan B is just to carry on working at school. I hope I can be a professional footballer, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll have something else to fall back on.
“But losing one week of training can have a long-term effect, because someone else could take my spot, so it could affect my chances of getting a scholarship.
“It’s not a competition, but everyone wants a scholarship at the end of the day.”
DRYCH: Bois yr Academi is on S4C on Tuesday 21 June at 9.00pm English subtitles available On demand: S4C Clic, iPlayer and other platforms.
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