The successful Port Talbot Pumas under-13 girls football team are to be based at TATA Sports & Social Club in Margam thanks to a new agreement.
The team, which was undefeated last season, will be able to use the facilities free of charge. The move represents a welcome upgrade, as the girls have, until now, been using rented pitches with no changing facilities.
The team formerly paid Neath Port Talbot Council to use pitches at Dyffryn School. However, without access to changing rooms and other basic facilities they faced limitations. Despite this, after two seasons the team has gone from strength to strength. After topping the third division in their first season, the Pumas were promoted to the premiership, where they finished a respectable fifth place.
The new agreement has been orchestrated by Pumas’ manager, Richard Woodward, who approached TATA FC chairman, Steve Williams, and the Pumas have now been granted access to TATA’s grounds and clubhouse free of charge.
Manager, Richard Woodward, said, “What I wanted to do was reinforce the connection with the steelworks and what’s going on in sport within the community. Without the help of TATA Steel FC we’d still be playing on council grounds without changing facilities. What we have here is two wonderful pitches, rooms we can utilise, and we can put our trophies up on the wall. It also brings the girls’ section of Port Talbot Town FC all together as one unit, so rather than being here there and everywhere we’re all here working as one team.”
Pumas Grace Staton (defence), Amelia Coombs and Lowri Woodward (midfield) all agreed that their new home ground is a great improvement, but maintained the best thing about Pumas was the friendships they had formed.
Beyond the Pumas, many of the girls have gone on to achieve great things. Ten players were scouted to represent South Wales, a testament to the high standard of coaching provided by coaches Chris and Tony Staton. Katy Young, Charlie Jones (goalkeepers), Grace Staton, Olivia Owen and Teagan Webb (defence), Amelia Coombs, Lowri Woodward, Lily Thomas, Holly Smith (midfield), and Nia Staton (striker) 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.
As well as better facilities, the move to TATA Steel FC forms part of manager Richard’s master plan, to consolidate the different age groups in girls’ football under one roof, expand the Pumas brand, introduce more girls to the sport and grow the female game.
The team is on the lookout for girls of all abilities and ages to join the side. For more information see www.porttalbotpumas.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Richard on 07539339244.