Konner Druce was the goalkeeper in a highly successful Bryngwran Bulls side last season.
The Bulls won the Anglesey League title and Elias Cup, as well as reaching four other finals, including the NWCFA Junior Cup.
Now comes a new challenge in the Gwynedd League, and Konner cannot wait. Here is an interview with the 25-year-old about his life and playing career.
At what age did you start playing football and were you a goalkeeper from the off?
I started football late, I was 12 when I started, but because I wasn’t the best at it I always managed to end up in goal. I surprised a few people so I thought of joining a side. I started off with Trearddur Bay U13’s and because I lived across the road from the pitch it was always a club that I wanted to play for.
Did you win much as a youngster? What are your fondest memories of the game growing up?
I didn’t win much at all with my junior football only personal awards. After my first season with T Bay U13’s I got offered to go and play for Bangor City Academy. At the time I had the best keeper coach I’ve ever had. Without Darren Baker I don’t think I’d be the player I am now and I am still to this day very grateful for what he did for me as a junior.
What was your first club in senior football? Did things start well?
My first season in senior football was with Trearddur Bay Reserves where I had a good season and towards the last dozen games or so I got called up to the first team to represent them in the Welsh Alliance. To this day I can say it was one of the best teams I’ve been involved with.
When did you join Bryngwran Bulls? What attracted you to the club?
Funnily enough I joined Bryngwran in 2013 – the same season I joined Trearddur Bay Reserves. What attracted me was the quality of the players and the fact they were a Sunday League side would mean I got to play twice a weekend. It was cut short because I got called up to Trearddur Bay first team so that meant I couldn’t play Sunday towards the end of the season with the Bulls, but from then on in I have always had my eye on the Bulls.
How did it feel winning the Anglesey League last season? The highlight of your career so far?
Winning the Anglesey League last season was a great feeling not only for me but everyone involved with Bryngwran. Not only to win the league but also make 4 league cup finals as well as making the North Wales Coast Junior Cup final was some achievement from the lads. Just a shame we ended up with a double because in my eyes we deserved more. Must say it has to be the highlight of my career so far (winning the Anglesey League).
This season Bulls step up to the Gwynedd League. Do you feel the squad is well-equipped to perform well at a higher level?
I think we have a great opportunity to silence a few critics this season as we did last season in beating a few Gwynedd sides as well as Llandudno Athletic in the NWJC. We will focus on working hard and playing good football. We definitely are well equipped to challenge this season and cannot wait to get stuck in. The future looks bright.
There’s been a few ins-and-outs at Bryngwran this summer. What do you think of the new players who have come in?
There has been a few transfers this summer and if I’m honest the players who have come into the club can only strengthen us and make us more of a threat this coming season. Without the players coming in we would have struggled to compete every weekend so I’m very happy to see the players wanting to come and play for the Bulls.
How ambitious are Bryngwran as a club?
Well I think considering Bulls six years ago were a Sunday League side and now currently in the Gwynedd League just shows how ambitious the club and people behind the scenes are with bringing the club up the footballing ladder.
They say a dog is a man’s best friend. On social media, it’s obvious how close you are to your dog Loki. What’s his breed, how is he coming along? Have you always been a dog lover?
A dog is a man’s best friend and personally I’ve always been a dog person. Loki means a lot to me, he is a German Shepherd and currently 5 months old and he is great! So clever but knows how to get his own way.
Do you feel Anglesey football is in a strong place? We’ve just won the Inter-Island Games and many of our clubs have risen up the pyramid in recent years. Is the island a good place to play football?
The island is a great place to play! There’s is a lot of talent on the island and with winning the Inter-Island games it will boost a lot of youngsters to do the same in years to come. I’d say it is in the strongest position for many years and look forward to seeing the future of the game within the island.
Away from football, what do you do to relax?
Away from football I love to cook, I do a lot of walking in the countryside. I also like watching other sports such as rugby and snooker.
I see you are an Arsenal fan. What are your hopes for the season ahead? Is Emery your cup of tea as a manager?
Well as for Arsenal I hope we can make it back into the top 4 and push for a cup this coming season. Emery I think is the right man for the job, I think it’s been refreshing since Wenger has left as our football was stale and needed a lift. He just needs time and I’m sure he will make his mark on the English game very soon.
Who is your all-time Arsenal hero and why?
My Arsenal hero has to be Thierry Henry, The guy terrified defenders with his pace as well as having one of the deadliest finishes in the game. A big part of the 2004 season where we went unbeaten and has to be the best striker to grace the Premiership so far.
Are you optimistic about the future of the Wales national football team? We seem to have gone backwards since Euro 2016, but we have some great players, a few promising youngsters….
We have dipped in form from the 2016 Euros but I think that’s to do with the change of manager and adjusting to his style of play. Also before Euro 2016 we didn’t really have the best national side and never were expected to do well so I think because we did do well it’s now expected of us to do the same in future tournaments. My favourite player currently has to be David Brooks, he has got a big future ahead of him.
What are your ambitions as a footballer?
My ambitions as a player has to be playing in the Welsh Premier one day. I’ve always wanted to play in that league and hopefully one day I can. I’ll do everything I can to make that possible.
What are your ambitions as a person?
As a person I just want to try and help others no matter what the situation is, hopefully one day I will try and help people within football and one day even try to go into coaching. It’s always been on my mind to give something back to the game I love.