Bangor 1876 new women’s senior team coaches, Lois Regan and Aron Griffith, discuss their views, influences and aspirations for the forthcoming season with Huw Roberts.
Bangor Ladies 1876 Women is a brand new team, so what’s attracted you to be part of this?
Lois: After speaking to Jonny (Batten – head coach), it was clear the club was offering me a great opportunity and had great ambitions. It excited me the fact that the club has a clear pathway from Under-8 through to seniors and I wanted to be part of that, as the youth are the future of football.
Aron: I was really attracted to the planning and ambition. In such a short time the club as a whole has achieved a lot and that is a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.
How does it feel to be part of the inaugural management team for the new senior team?
Lois: Exciting times. Having had last season at Llanberis together (with Jonny and Aron) it seems to work really well. We all bring different experiences, knowledge and understanding and have a good bond which seems to get passed on to the team.
Aron: Glad to be a part of it, it’s just so exciting to be at a club that has big plans for women’s football and the drive to get there.
Tell us a little about yourselves and how did you get into football and coaching?
Lois: Initially I got into coaching due to injury as it allowed me to stay in the game. Jonny approached me to coach with him and Aron at Llanberis and the rest is history. I have great deal of experience and knowledge as a player and it’s great to use that to help others progress, especially the youth.
Aron: I played for Llanrug for some time then stopped for a few years, I had a text from Jonny asking if I would be interested in helping him out with the Llanberis under-14s so I said yes. So I have being coaching for roughly 4 years and last season coached Llanberis senior women’s team.
Tell us a little about your coaching philosophy and influences
Aron: I really don’t have any coaching influences; my philosophy is that I want to see the team progressing. I just got offered to start coaching so I did. I’m passionate about women’s football. It’s another opportunity for me to teach myself and getting to go on courses to learn new stuff about women’s football and coaching experience in general.
Lois: My strength as a player was my ability to read a game so I hope I can use this as a coach to influence games and help players do the same. I see the game of football as a team game, we all have our own roles to make the team effective and efficient we have to bring those roles together to work as one.
I’ve had so many coaches in my development as a player; I like to believe that they have all influenced me in my football career and continue to do so. As a coach I like to be hands on, but due to my current injury I sometimes struggle with this, so my role at present is to use my knowledge to help Jonny and Aron, but when recovered I’ll be definitely looking to be a lot more hands on in the sessions.
Lois – as a player you’ve been part of the Wales international youth set-up, played in the Champions League, won a Welsh Cup and been part of WSL Reading’s academy. Has this influenced your coaching and approach and what have you brought to 1876 from those experiences?
Lois: Playing within these teams and at different levels during my career, I feel I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge to pass on to the team. I can give higher levels training with more complex drills etc. I hope to implement these with the team. Jonny uses my knowledge and understanding often when creating training sessions.
Will you be a player-coach then Lois ?
Lois: I’d love to play the game again so we’ll have to see, but due to my current injury I’m more than happy to just be a coach and be able to pass on my knowledge to the Bangor 1876 family.
Aron – What type of coach are you?
Aron: A very attack-minded coach, passionate on the sidelines and the type of coach who is inspired to carry on and push myself more if I see the girls progressing.
We’ve heard that you have amassed a talented squad of players. What did you look for and how is it coming together from a coaching perspective? Anybody impressed or surprised you?
Lois: Myself, Jonny and Aron had a meeting and discussed players we wanted to create the core of the squad. Playing within the women’s game, I knew quite a lot of the players, having played with them. This had a major influence on our selection. We have a youthful squad with experience
I’ve been impressed by the work ethic of every individual working hard and never complaining no matter how hard they get pushed. I’m really excited and impressed with our younger players, they show great promise and have lots of ability and ambition traits I had at that age), and will be a major assets going forward.
Aron: I think we have a we have a good squad with talent. It was all about building a well-balanced team and getting players with potential and the right attitude on board with us.
There’s a few youngsters that have impressed so far and I’m really looking forward to the season to start so we can see how everyone performs with each other as a team on the pitch.
You have limited training time so describe what a typical training session has been like and what you’ve been focusing on and do you each have different focus? How does it all work?
Lois: Focus has mainly been on fitness, making the sessions hard with high intensity but fun at the same- time, especially with not knowing when games were going to resume. My main goal was to make sure the team was as ready as possible for when we do resume. Now we have games on the horizon, sessions have become more team focused, concentrating on individual roles, defence, goalkeeper, attack.
Aron: Training is strange for now because of Covid 19 as it is for any other club. We have been putting the work in over pre-season with fitness and trying to keep the girls interested . With friendlies coming up we can start to focus more on structure, how we want to play and work on that. As a management team I think we work well with each other in training and we try to get the best out of the team.
What are your coaching aspirations (if any) and how does this into that journey?
Lois: I want to carry on progressing with the seniors and making them a success. As a individual want to carry on with my coaching qualifications and become the best coach I can be. Moving forward, I want to become more of a positive influence on the youth set up, showing the younger girls that you can achieve your dreams and goals, like I did. I hope I can become a positive role model within the club.
Aron: I’d like to progress forward in my coaching, my aspiration is to do all of the certificates possible and the highest one that I can do . Eventually I’d like get a pro licence but that’s a long time away.
What would you like to get out of this season ?
Lois: For the team to become a unit and play as a team, to keep the team together for seasons to come. I’d like the team to make a statement this season and get some surprising results and become a team to fear for the next season.
Aron: My personal targets this season is that the team gels and play well as a unit, then obviously win games. As a new team I don’t think there is any pressure on us so we shall see how it goes and take it game by game. It would be nice as a club for the first year of the women’s team to do well in the league and go the distance in some cups.