A talented young footballer hopes 2022 will bring an end to a nightmare battle against a career-threatening injury.
Ceri Lois Thomas, 21, this week underwent an operation which will hopefully restore her to full fitness and result in an uninterrupted continuation of her football adventures.
The Anglesey girl, who hails from Llanfachraeth, is one of North Wales’ most promising young players.
A natural goalscorer, she has shone throughout most of her career for Bangor City, Bethesda Athletic and current club CPDM Bangor 1876.
However, 2018-19 brought a major setback when she sustained a dislocated shoulder playing for Bethesda versus Rhyl Development.
The problem has never been fully rectified, despite operations in 2019 and 2020.
However, hopes are high it will be third time lucky for a Welshwoman (tri cynnig i Gymro) after Ceri reported this week’s op was a success with a more promising prognosis than previously.
She is now resting at home and while restricted in her movements and in some pain, it is believed the chances of a full recovery are good and she can return to football training in January.
Ceri’s shoulder damage has constantly affected her in games over the past three years, the most recent dislocation happening in a friendly against Llangefni Town in June.
Nonetheless, this true Ynys Môn warrior has bravely carried on playing as much as possible and she is currently Bangor 1876’s leading scorer this season on six goals.
While having to be careful not to aggravate the shoulder, her finishing has been deadly, one goal when she came on as a substitute at NFA on a sun-baked opening day of the season particularly standing out.
One of four children – she has two sisters Glesni and Cadi and a brother Cian, as well as parents Tracey and Barry – NHS worker Ceri developed an interest in football in her very early years, going to her first Liverpool FC match aged just five with her grandfather.
She went on to play for Bodedern (boys) Under-10s, Llangefni Girls Under-12s, Bangor City Girls under-14s and under-16s and Ynys Môn women before stepping up to represent Bangor City Ladies.
Despite only turning 16 early in the 2016/17 season, Ceri was a potent force in front of goal, scoring 12 times in 15 matches for the senior team, and bagging the top goalscorer award for both the ladies and U16s.
In 2017/18, Ceri piled up 28 goals in all competitions for a much-improved Bangor, making her the joint-third top scorer within the North Wales League.
She was named Grassroots North Wales Young Player of the Season.
One of her finest performances for the Citizens was a hat-trick in the Welsh Cup against Penrhyncoch in 2016/17.
Playing alongside the likes of Cerys Gadd, Lexi Crawley, Paige Williams and Tash Matthews certainly had a positive influence on the teenager.
When Bangor City women’s team folded at the end of 2017-18, Ceri had a short spell with Caernarfon Town in the Welsh Premier League, only playing twice due to a foot injury, before joining newly-formed Bethesda Athletic of North Wales League Division Two.
It was a magnificent season for Pesda, who won the league title on the back of 10 straight wins.
Ceri’s injury nightmares unfortunately began that campaign, but she still scored seven goals to finish joint-second highest club markswoman, including a hat-trick against Mountain Rangers.
She also netted in the 3-1 win at Amlwch Town on February 17, 2019, which secured Athletic the title at the first attempt.
Summer 2019 saw Ceri form part of the Ynys Môn women’s squad which won the silver medal at the Inter-Island Games.
Anglesey’s ladies had never performed so well before at the games and while Ceri was mainly a bit-part player she still got some minutes under her belt in the prestigious tournament.
The start of the 2019-20 season saw Amlwch Town sign five of the Môn stars of the Inter-Island Games – Ffion Owen, Ceri Slaney, Beth Jones, Catrin Evans and…..Ceri Lois Thomas!
Although Amlwch won the Division Two title, Ceri sadly played no part in the season due to her injuries.
The 2020-21 campaign was wiped out completely by Covid, but Ceri returned to football this term with Bangor 1876.
At the age of just 21 and having missed so many matches, she has still notched more than 50 senior goals.
Everyone who knows Ceri has just about everything crossed that she will be back to her firing best in 2022.
That superb goal at NFA in September for 1876 was a very special moment for me personally, as I’ve been concerned due to the last three years of setbacks that we might not have seen the likes of that stunning strike again from this young talent.
But Ceri Lois doesn’t give up. She’s a believer and a battler and we all now look forward to her return in 2022 – well, apart from opposition defences that is!
SENIOR CAREER GOALS
Born: October 16, 2000
2016-17: 12 (Bangor City)
2017-18: 28 (Bangor City)
2018-19: 7 (Bethesda Athletic)
2019-20: Missed through injury
2020-21: Covid wiped out season
2021-22: 6 (Bangor 1876)