Barry Town Utd Ladies FC
Barry Town Utd Ladies started back in 2012 initially under the name of ‘Vale Ladies & Girls Football Club’ before completing a successful merger with Barry Town Utd in the summer of 2016.
The club was initially founded by a group of coaches passionate about developing girls football in the local area and in just over two years quickly became the largest female club in Wales.
The rapid rise in success was predominantly down to the club creating a high number of school based opportunities for girls try football. Chairman, Luke Williams commented: “Our initial priority was to grow the awareness of girl’s football in local schools and so we put together a plan delivering free taster sessions, school festivals, coaching programmes and then developed this further into creating schools leagues. As these sessions were delivered by club coaching staff the participants had a direct link to our club and we recruited a high number of players from these sessions. The Vale of Glamorgan Sport Development team have also played a significant role in our success assisting us with the running of festivals and funding."
In just 5 years the club has gone from nothing to becoming a major force at junior level and the club now boasts well over 200 female players and currently runs 14 teams ranging from Under 7’s through to two senior ladies teams.
“During our time as Vale Ladies we established a strong community programme and set up a thriving junior setup in order to eventually have a full player pathway which is now in place. In addition we now have around 30 coaches who are dedicated to ensuring we get the very best out of the talent we have within the club. We also provide lots of additional club opportunities such as our own club development centres for additional training as well as arranging development fixtures with other clubs,” Williams commented.
How did things change?
In the summer of 2016 the club decided to merge with Welsh League Club and former Welsh Champions Barry Town Utd. Whilst this was a huge decision to make having already established a strong female set up, the merger has made a big impact.
“The merge to Barry Town has provided us with fantastic training facilities with a 2,000 seater stadium and 3g surface giving us a first rate environment to take our club to the next level. In addition we now have a home with a clubhouse where we host committee meetings and can host club events, which provides additional income opportunities. We are also now part of a much stronger club that has over 600 players from boys, girl’s disability teams as well as an academy. Barry Town is one of the biggest names in Welsh football and we are very proud to be associated with the club,” Williams said.
The club continues to offer community based sessions in both the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff areas and already has a number of players representing the national and regional junior Wales teams.
Proudest Moment so far?
Having 7 players called up to represent the Wales Under 15 national team in the home nations tournament held in April 2016. This was the highest representation of any club. In addition the club won the South Wales Grassroots Impact Award for 2015 selected by the Welsh Football Trust.
What’s next for the club?
The ultimate aim for the club is to get its senior ladies set up competing at the top of the Welsh game in the Women’s Welsh Premier League. The club currently sits one tier below that level and are currently challenging for promotion. Williams added, “Our ladies setup has massively improved in the last 12 months and with the talent we have coming through our junior set up hopefully it is only a matter of time before we establish ourselves as a top tier club. We have set the foundations in place for long term success and we hope to one day not only reach the top division but to compete at the top end of the league.
We are also focusing on increasing the skill set of our coach workforce and currently have a high number of our volunteers attending Level 2 and Level 3 courses which benefit our junior players with higher quality training standards and sessions.
Luke’s Top Tips
- To grow your membership target where your customers are based. In our case it was children and females and so school sessions were our quickest way to make a difference and offer free and fun sessions to a high number of people. Our school festivals have seen 150-200 participants on occasions.
- A strong social media presence is vital for promotion of your club to raise awareness of your opportunities and club events. A club website with regular content and local press reports are a great way to keep people interested in your development as a club.
- Ongoing recruitment of volunteers is essential to allow your club to continue its growth as well as supporting your volunteers with additional development.