New NAGS Coaches for the revamped Pathway
As we continue to keep everything crossed that the Player Pathway will be able to start up again in early 2021, behind the scenes work has been taking place on reshaping the format and appointing key personnel to ensure we are able to move forward seamlessly when play starts up again.
One of the key areas of change has been the National Age Group (NAGs) coaching set up, with four new Head Coaches appointed to take up the reins with the U16’s and 18’s Girls and Boys squads. They will also be responsible for heading up the delivery at the new Regional Performance Centres, based in Cardiff, Swansea and Colwyn Bay.
The recent appointments of Mike Hughes, Elliot Foweraker, Lee Marshall and Mike Williamson has seen four hugely experienced coaches being brought in to build on the work that was underway prior to this year’s unprecedented break for the youngsters involved in NAGs.
Mike Hughes takes up the role of U16 Girls Head Coach off the back of a successful three years coaching with Hockey Ireland as Girls U21/23 Assistant Coach. This role saw Hughes complete a European U21 Championship cycle that saw 7 of the squad graduate to the senior side.
A proud father and husband, Mike is the Director of Hockey and Mens 1st XI Head Coach at Old Georgians Hockey Club who currently sit 2nd in the EHB Premier Division.
I am super excited to work as a Head Coach on the Wales Pathway and can’t wait to start adding the details and behaviours required for the next set of National Age Group players to reach their potential.
Taking up the role of U18s Girls Head Coach is Elliot Foweraker, who has previously worked as an assistant coach to the Wales Senior Women's indoor team and supported the outdoor programme with the U21 & 23 Women.
A graduate from the University of Gloucestershire and qualified PE teacher, Elliot has been working at Taunton School as Director of Hockey for the past 6 years. Elliot has experience coaching junior international athletes within schools, clubs and universities and has coached throughout the England Hockey Player pathway.
I am delighted to be taking on this role with Hockey Wales, I have admired how much progress the programme has been making and I am really looking forward to getting started and contributing towards its continued success.
The Boys Under 16’s will be overseen by Lee Marshall. Having coached for over 12 years in both club and pathway environments, Lee begun his involvement with the Welsh pathway set up at the Brecon 360 centre and, most recently, as Head Coach at the Aspire centre in Cardiff.
For the past two years Lee was assistant coach for the Wales NAGs boys programme. At the last Futures Cup Lee took the role of Head Coach for the under 16 squad, competing as the Celtic Jaguars, and took on the role of Team Manager when the under 16s travelled to Poland in 2019
He is an active member of the Wales Hockey Masters and has taken on the role of player coach for his age group in the past two years, competing at European Championships and World Cups.
It has been great to progress through the Pathway as a coach, as it has given me a great understanding of what the players need to achieve to get to the highest level. I am really looking forward to working wit the squad and bring the best out of them moving forward.
Former Wales player and Coach Mike Williamson will take the reins as the U18s Boys Head Coach.
Having joined the Men’s squad in 1985, Mike went on to gain over 100 caps for his country and, after a spell as interim player/coach, became coach in 2001 and remained in post until 2007.
Williamson has coached several successful club sides including helping Reading HC to win National Premier League Champions in successive seasons, and more recently Head Coach and Director of Hockey at Old Loughtonians until he took up the reins at Southgate HC for the 2020/21 season.
It is great to be part of the Welsh Player Pathway. I am looking forward to utilising my experiences both as a player and coach to help these young players achieve their hockey ambitions.
Kevin Johnson, Head of Pathway for Hockey Wales, has been working on bringing in the changes to the overall set-up and the appointment of the NAG’s coaches,
These appointments are the result of a rigorous recruitment process and therefore I am delighted with the four coaches we have chosen who have all demonstrated their ability to help move our junior programmes forward in this next period which we have all been waiting patiently to get underway.