Youth Development Week | Young Bluebirds on the World Stage
Head of Coaching at Cardiff City Academy Dane Facey discusses the importance of role models and support from others following the 2022 FA World Cup Wales squad announcement earlier this week.
With Wednesday night's announcement that City stars Rubin Colwill and Mark Harris would be joining the Wales national side in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the two Bluebirds have joined the select group of City players to head to the biggest stage in international football.
Becoming part of only the second group of Welsh players to travel to a World Cup, the pair have now set an example to those within Cardiff City's Academy, where they spent developing their skills in their childhood years. Dane shared his delight following Wednesday's news:
“All of the Academy staff were watching on Wednesday night, in the hope that both Mark and Rubin would get the opportunity," began Dane. "We’re all delighted that they have been selected.
“I’ve worked with both of the lads for a number of years in the Academy, both as head of their individual age groups and head of phase, and I still speak to them both regularly. I think that there aren’t two better role models than these two lads for the Academy.
"They’re a real inspiration to the players within our current programme to show what hard work, consistency and belief in your own abilities can do, and the doors that it can open for you."
He continued: “Everyone has been talking about how much they’ve brought to our programme, both as players and ambassadors; they share a journey with a lot of young players currently in the programme. They will really help with showing that transition from the Academy to the First Team. We’re delighted for them and their families. It’s a proud moment for us, for the Club and the wider community.
“I feel that we as an Academy are different from the vast majority of clubs in the Football League, because of our identity as being part of a Welsh club. It’s an important part of our identity and culture. For these two young lads – who have been with the club for close to 15 years – to go and represent their country on the world stage, is a phenomenal achievement.
“I remember both lads playing right the way throughout our programme, coaching Rubin when he was eight or nine years old and then Sparky when he was about eleven. They’ve shown their talent throughout the journeys that they’ve been on, but it’s their desire to succeed and the unwavering family support that they’ve had which lends itself for them to now impress on the international stage, as they’ve done so already."
Concluding, Dane reflected on the hard work that both Colwill and Harris have put in over the years, and how they will inspire the next generation of Bluebirds and those who are currently in the Academy system:
“By playing for Wales at those younger age groups, they’ve added to the knowledge that they’ve gained otherwise, to the extent that I now look at them as experienced on that platform. They’ve had a taste of it and shown that they can thrive at that level, and we’re all excited to see what they can achieve in the Wales national squad. We want everyone to do as well as they can.
“Aspirationally, this is a great moment for everybody at Cardiff City, and particularly for our young Academy players who are coming through, who now see what is achievable. It requires a lot of dedication, support and commitment to get there, but everyone will be looking up to those lads.”