Dane Facey

Dane Facey “proud” of Wales’ efforts at U17 Euros

Wales’ U17s side recently competed in the UEFA U17 European Championship, with City trio Ronan Kpakio, Jac Thomas and Jake Davies gaining invaluable international experience. 

Part of the coaching staff is Dane Facey, who is Head of Coaching at our Academy base in Llanrumney. 

The side battled against Denmark, Austria and Croatia, recording a 1-1 draw against the latter to react well to defeat in the opening two fixtures.

Commenting on the experience, Dane said: “We’re delighted that we were able to expose our players to that level of tournament experience. As part of the player development pathway, it’s important that players get to feel what that level is like, playing against some of the top players of their age group in Europe. 

“On reflection, whilst we were disappointed that we couldn’t go further in the tournament, what we did learn was that we definitely have some players who are capable of reaching their potential and playing at that level on a regular basis. Both from an internal point of view at Cardiff City and at the FAW, it’s exciting that for a second consecutive year, we’ve managed to qualify, we have got the players to feel those experience and adapt to that environment. 

“I don’t think the players or the staff on camp could have done any more. We prepared really well, we gave a good account of ourselves and as a whole, it was a really memorable experience for the players and myself as well.

“I’m proud of the players, who through their pathway, have had some difficult games. Leading into the U17s campaign that we started back in August, to go through the campaign and win four out of the five games in qualifying, beating some great sides, like Belgium and Romania, when we look back at those achievements, we can be really proud of that. It just highlights the quality of players we have in Wales and Cardiff City is the primary club for youth development, that’s how we should see ourselves.”

Dane Facey

Having played a big part in the side’s qualification, Kpakio, Thomas and Davies were all included in the squad and featured in all three matches.

The trio impressed for City’s U18s in the 2023/24 season, whilst also gaining experience at U21 level.

“They will have felt the level that they need to get to and all of them showed that they are capable of that whilst on camp,” Dane continued. “The fact that all three of them played in all three games is testament to the fact that they’ve earned the right to have that exposure. It will be interesting to see how they reflect on that. I spoke to them post-camp to make sure that they take some time to think about what they have learned. 

“I’m very confident that they will come back better players. They have now experienced something that they know they are capable of, but also, they have seen the level of the international stage. That level really does test you and all three of them did great. Of course, they can add to their game, there are elements of their strengths they can improve on and there are also elements to their game they can tidy up on. 

“They will come back in a positive frame of mind having had that experience. There will be a little bit of downtime for them now, which will be important. The camp environment can be intense, so it’s important that they rest now. I’m looking forward to seeing them come back and show everyone what they can do again next season.”

Dane Facey

As well as players being included in the squad, there were also Cardiff City staff who were involved on camp with Wales’ U17s.

Along with Dane, Yuma Shibamoto, Jonny Northeast and Dan Williams were all present during the competition.

Dane concluded: “I’m really grateful that we as staff get the opportunity to work together. There is an element of staff growth in this and I can absolutely say that I have grown from the experience. The FAW also benefit from having coaches in Wales working with our best players. There is a real opportunity for the FAW’s pathway, but also for our own. It’s great to have some friendly faces around and people that I have worked with. 

“Our aim now is to bring good practice back and share the things that we have learned to help us grow the players in our programme, but also accept that the level is ever-growing. Under Gavin Chesterfield’s leadership, we’re very forward-thinking and consider how we improve. 

“Given the things that I have seen at the Euros, I think we’re doing a lot of great stuff at the Club, so we’re in a good place and we will hopefully continue to produce top talents at the Club.”