Over the past year, our academy coaches have been working towards their coaching badges, with Lead PDP Coach Danny Elliott being awarded with his FAW/UEFA A Licence in December. Academy Manager Byron Anthony and Assistant PDP Coach Dan Benham are currently studying the FA Advanced Youth Award and the duo will finish the course later this year. In addition to this, Dan Benham will also look to complete his UEFA A Licence in 2018 with the FA.
Academy Manager Byron Anthony explained about the FA Advanced Youth Award: “The FA Advanced Youth Award has been developed to help create a highly skilled, world class group of youth coaches within the English game.”
“The course has been designed to develop and enhance specialist skills and knowledge across the three recognised phases of youth development, built upon the expertise gained within The FA's Long-Term Player Development Model.”
The FA Advanced Youth Award is an EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) requirement for the next seven seasons. It’s mandatory for all academy coaches and designed to support the development of coaches who have achieved the full FA Youth Award.
Byron added: “It is of huge importance to support and develop the academy coaches, this allows us to deliver an elite programme, maximising the development of players for the club.”
“The academy is making great progress both on and off the field, five scholars have made first team debuts and two scholars have represented Wales at U17 and U19 level this season.
“Currently we are operating as a category 3 model in preparation for the transition from category 4, with over 480 players and 70 coaches engaged within academy and development centres.”
Danny Elliott, who has been at County for over 12 years, spoke about his delight at receiving the UEFA A Licence: “I’m very proud to have achieved the A Licence, to go with my FAW A Youth Licence, that I completed in 2014.
“It’s been 12 years of hard work and dedication, it was my goal after not being offered a professional contract at the club to become a professional coach.”
When asked about who had the biggest influence on him during the course, Danny stated: “Along the way many people have had an influence on me, but learning as a player under Norman Parselle still influences the way that I coach now.
“On the course, the FAW staff helped me massively and away from that, working alongside Byron on a day to day basis was a huge help as he completed the course the year before.”
Danny talked about how Keith Southern, who was on the same A Licence course, helped him with several tasks: “I also had an ex-teammate of the manager, Keith Southern, who was on the course and we helped each other with coursework, which helped massively to complete the course.”
Danny also combines his role in the academy with the first-team, helping manager Michael Flynn on a matchday or with training during the week. When asked about how it has helped him develop as a coach he explained: “Working with the first-team and being able to see the differences between youth team football and senior football is invaluable, giving me an insight into the transition between the youth team to the 1st team.
“This is my second time in this role, as I worked under Justin Edinburgh when he was at the club, however there is a different approach under the manager; understanding what he’s looking for helps me to prepare the young players with Byron.
“I think that being with the manager for the second time around has helped me mature as a coach, I’ve worked under him with the youth team previously too.”
Assistant PDP Coach and Head of Academy Operations Dan Benham is currently still on the FA/UEFA A Licence course and FA Advanced Youth Award, when asked about how he managed the courses and his roles within the academy, Dan said: “Undertaking the A Licence course and Advanced Youth Award at the same time will always be a challenge, but it will always be a challenge but one that I relish.
“Working and coaching daily at the academy allows me to develop the necessary and experience to progress well on the courses.
“A key aspect for me is the fantastic mentoring and support from the academy staff, such as Byron Anthony and Danny Elliott.”
When asked about being on the same course with Academy Manager Byron Anthony, Dan had this to say: “Being on the same course as Byron is a great opportunity for myself, as we are constantly discussing the course.”
Dan then praised the experience of Academy Manager Byron Anthony, saying: “Byron brings his professional playing experience to discussions, which is a really insightful perspective against the scientific and statistical information that we are given on the course.”
Finally, he was asked about his aims for the future as a coach. He stated, “I’m hoping to complete the requirements for both courses in the 2018, with the final contact day for the Advanced Youth Award in May 2018.”
“Going forward, it’s important that this has a direct effect on my coaching with Newport County AFC, Long term, I wish to continue my development as a coach and challenge myself further each season.”
Newport County AFC would like to congratulate Danny Elliott on receiving his FAW/UEFA A License, and we’d like to wish Academy Manager Byron Anthony and Assistant PDP Coach Dan Benham good luck, as they continue with their courses this year.