College Assistant Principal becomes UEFA Pro
An assistant principal at Coleg y Cymoedd has secured one of the highest qualifications in international football coaching.
Coleg y Cymoedd’s assistant principal of teaching and learning, Neil Smothers, has obtained a UEFA Professional License, a mandatory qualification for coaches to work in national leagues across Europe.
Neil’s career as a football player and an educator have been intertwined since he played for his university team, UWIC (now Cardiff Metropolitan University), while studying for his teaching degree. The Pro License course is designed to provide aspiring coaches with the necessary training, support and guidance to succeed at the very highest level in football.
A semiprofessional career has seen Smothers play for several Welsh clubs in addition to coaching internationally. In 2019, he was appointed as the manager of Carmarthen Town, where he guided them to a ninth-place finish in his first full season in the Cymru Premier.
Securing the UEFA Pro License follows 18 months of training designed to prepare participants for managerial and coaching roles at the elite level of the game including international, Premier League, Football League and FA Women’s Super League level.
As part of his training, Neil traveled to study with Swedish club AIK Fotboll and visit UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Here in Wales, Neil and his fellow coaches had the opportunity to observe and discuss the work of the Welsh National rugby Team as they prepared for the Six Nations game against Scotland.
The group also benefited from working with some of Welsh sport’s most experienced managers and international sports professionals, including Welsh national team manager Ryan Giggs and former welsh international rugby player turned endurance athlete, Richard Parks.
Commenting on his achievement and plans for the future, Neil Smothers, said: “I’ve always enjoyed passing on the lessons and skills I’ve developed on the pitch to learners. Pursuing the UEFA Professional License has been both a privilege and an amazing experience.
“At the highest levels in sport, success requires so much more than skills on the pitch, helping to develop teams and players takes innovation and an ability to find new approaches. For me, the goal is to share what I have had the opportunity to learn with my colleagues and our learners, so that more can benefit from the experiences I have been fortunate enough to gain.”