One of the most progressive football clubs in Wales could have appointed the perfect fit to their coaching team.
Jordan Hadaway is ambitious, forward-thinking and eager to learn – qualities which will stand him in good stead at Cymru Premier outfit Cefn Druids.
Jordan, 19, was believed to be one of the world’s youngest-ever football managers when at 18 he took over at then tier 5 North East Wales League club Caerwys last season.
Now the second year student at Liverpool Hope University has left the Flintshire side to become a first team assistant coach at Druids – one of the oldest clubs in Wales and two-time qualifiers for Europe.
The role will see Jordan studying for his UEFA A coaching badge. He will also run soccer clinics with Spanish giants Real Madrid, having first been employed by them last summer.
Jordan said: “I sometimes have to remind myself that I’ve not even turned 20 yet, and I realise I need to stay grounded, listen to advice and carry on learning.
“But despite my age I always feel confident about being able to earn the respect of the players through my approach to coaching.
“The new role at Cefn Druids is one I couldn’t turn down.
“I loved my time at Caerwys and I will be forever grateful for them giving me my first senior managerial job in football.
“But with the greatest respect in the world, I’m jumping five tiers to move to the Welsh Premier and it’s something of a dream come true.”
Jordan’s new career move also involves being head coach of the newly-formed Elite Development Squad (EDS).
“It’s my job to develop players, including trialists, so that they’re able thrive in the first team,” he added.
Jordan’s appointment comes amid ongoing investment and reinvigoration from forward-thinking Cefn Druids chairman Des Williams, who last summer also installed Bruno Lopes as manager. Lopes was previously head coach at Portuguese Primeira Liga side Portimonense and their highly successful U23’s.
Jordan, who will work alongside highly influential assistant-manager and head of coaching Jayson Starkey, adds: “Bruno plays incredible football, he’s extremely knowledgeable and he’s changing the culture of the club. So it’s a real honour to be working with him.
“And, for me, it’s an opportunity to take a step back from being the manager, as I was at Caerwys, and to watch and learn from other professionals.”
Chairman Williams says Jordan can help the club in their Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) drive – a long-term strategy with the aim of developing more and better home-grown players.
And he insists Jordan’s age is no barrier to success either.
Des explains: “I looked at our academy and realised we had no pathway, no structure, for coaches to be able to learn the DNA of the club and then, over a period of time, step up to become a first team coach, or even a head coach.
“And because Wales is a smaller nation with a smaller pool of talent, finding good quality coaches is really, really tough.
“Jordan’s name cropped up as being a young up-and-coming coach operating in the lower tiers of Welsh football. We watched him and realised he fitted the mould of what we were looking for.
“We need a young coach with fresh ideas and Jordan is being given a chance with our new Elite Development Squad (EDS), so that we have a DNA that goes all the way from the first team right the way through the different squads.
“It’s a big challenge and responsibility for Jordan. And I believe Jordan is the right person for the job.
“Our pathway will be to mentor him through his UEFA A Licence and hopefully, in three years, he’ll go for his Pro Licence – making him one of the youngest Pro Licence holders in the UK.
“Jordan is also something of a trailblazer. Because if he’s a success, all of the academy coaches will follow the same path.”
And as for Jordan’s age, Des adds: “I have no concerns at all. None. We have to trust in youth.
“Using a football analogy, if he’s good enough he’s old enough.”
Jordan still finds the time to be a full-time student – where he’s in the second year of a degree in Sports & PE combined with Special Educational Needs at Liverpool Hope University.
And despite rising through the ranks of Welsh football at such a young age, Jordan still sees a future where he’s a primary school teacher, not an elite football manager.
He reveals: “I’ll finish my degree as planned as I’m as dedicated to my studies as I am football.”