A Port Talbot football team is currently fourth in the Welsh premiership, after being promoted from the third division. The Port Talbot Pumas is an Under-13 girls’ side, and has had an excellent season to date, with four wins and two draws netting them 14 points.
This comes hot on the heels of a remarkable last season, which saw them win Division 3 unbeaten to make promotion to the Premiership.
Team manager Richard Woodward called the Pumas “one of the most successful teams in Wales. I can’t think of another team that has won all 26 matches in the season.”
The side has only been going for two seasons, and its remarkable success has also seen nine of its players selected for a new South Wales Representative Squad. Amelia Coombs, Lowri Woodward, Megan Chambers, Lilly Thomas, Livvi Owen, Charley Jones, Eleri Morgan, Tegan Webb, Grace Staton and Nia Turley-Staton were among the squad which secured five trophies last season, and beat the Dutch national side 4-2 to bring home the Celtic Dutch Classic Cup.
Richard took on management and coaching of the team when he saw how pro-actively girls football was being run in Port Talbot. His daughter, Lowri, had been playing for Pontypridd, but is now a Pumas striker.
“I love classic cars but I thought I couldn’t call the team the jaguars. Then I thought of the Pumas, and it went from there. The girls love the name and the brand and it’s really brought the team together.”
Richard has now been asked to take on coaching of all Port Talbot Town’s girls’ sides, including Under 9’s, Under 11’s, Under 14’s and Under 16’s, and plans to rebrand them all with the Pumas name.
Richard says the team’s success is down to everyone involved – including coaches Christopher and Anthony Staton, but also parents, grandparents, carers – and of course the girls themselves.
“There’s a lot of training and travelling and the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone is needed to make the team a success. The girls have shown exceptional commitment. We’ve come a long way in a short time, but we are looking to build on our successes and keep the momentum going for girls’ football. This is a real success Port Talbot can be proud of.”
The team is on the lookout for girls of all abilities and ages to join the side. They train at Dyffryn School on a Thursday, and play competitive games on Sundays. For more information see www.porttalbotpumas.co.uk, email email@example.com, or call Richard on 07539339244.