Host Families

Host families - the Academy’s homes away from home 

At the Cardiff City FC Academy, as well as the football, medical and other forms of support that our young players have available, we also have unsung heroes in the form of host families who act as a home away from home for many young Bluebirds.

Every year, several players who are completing their scholarship in the U18 side or playing for the U21’s either live further away from the Academy or, for their own development, have chosen to live away from home.   

The Academy benefits greatly from our fantastic group of host families, who not only supply a place to stay, food to eat and washing etc., but also openly welcome the boys into their families, caring for and them looking after their emotional needs.  During their host family stays the boys develop social skills, with the experience encouraging independence and learning life skills away from football at the very start of their careers in the game. 

Luke Armstrong

U18’s shotstopper Luke Armstrong is one Academy player who has been enjoying his time living with a host family: “I feel like it's helped me come out of my shell a bit, because I'm from quite far away from Cardiff. Meeting new people has helped me become more confident at the Club, and they've really looked after me. It's kind of rubbed off on me and I've brought it into the Club, which has helped me really show what I can do.” 

Kerry and Guy Lyons, Luke’s hosts, explained: “We became a host family when our daughter Gracie went to university, and enjoyed the extra company. We also had a bit of empty nest syndrome with Gracie gone! We have had a great bunch of guys that have blended in well with everyone. We enjoy having large family meals and it’s always worked well.” 

First Year Scholar Dakarai Mafico has also benefitted from living with a host family this season, adding: “I enjoy the time and the flexibility that you have and learning how to do things your way. I feel the biggest skill I have learnt is time management. Although the host family is there to help, you have to manage your own time, like making sure you are up on time to catch the bus. Being respectful about how other people live and learning how to adapt and fit in with people. Not being shy and staying in your room but coming down and socialising with others, so I have developed these skills too. Alongside this, the biggest thing I enjoy in my digs is the food!” 

Dakarai’s father, Samson, shared his thoughts on seeing his son develop both on and off the pitch during his time with the Academy: 

Dak has gained independence and has grown up in the short time he has been with his host family. He is managing himself now regarding his schedule and the day-to-day necessities of life. Where we used to prompt and remind, he has taken full responsibility for it all. We feel going into digs has been the making of him.” 

Dakarai Mafico

With many years of experience in playing host for Academy players, Pat Heath – who currently hosts Dakarai alongside partner Linda - said: “For me it’s all about being a lifelong Cardiff City fan living in Cardiff and embracing the opportunity of having a small role in the development of potentially future First Team players! 

“Most of the players who have stayed here over the years remain in contact. We regularly get birthday greetings and seasonal messages. Don’t forget that these young lads are away from home for the very first time, so we invite them into our home and for two years they become part of the family. It’s something they will never forget.” 

Commenting on the invaluable service that the host families provide to their Academy’s young players, Player Care Manager Sarah Nightingale said: “Our host families play such an integral part in the support of our scholars, developing them as young people and teaching them key life skills in a supportive environment. I would like to thank our amazing host families who we hosted on Tuesday night. The support and care they show to the boys is incredible and it’s a testament to the relationships that they build with the boys that they often keep in touch with each other years after they have left their care.” 

We are seeking host families both on a full-time basis but also to temporarily host trialists. Ideally our host families would live in the following postcode areas – CF14, CF23 – and within proximity to a train station or other forms of public transport. 

If you would like to know more about becoming a host family, please contact Sarah Nightingale via email: or Tel: 07872147436