Latham Park, Newtown


  • Newtown AFC has re-affirmed its commitment to finding the next generation of young talent in Mid Wales by announcing its intention to continue as a Category A academy under the Welsh Football Association(FAW) Licensed Academy programme.

The Robins highly-rated academy system already provides unrivalled opportunities for hundreds of young footballers in Powys aged between 8-16 to develop as part of the FAW’s ‘Talent Pathway’, which sits above the grassroots game but below the professional game, the Welsh regional training program and Welsh national youth teams. 

There are currently 24 licensed academies in Wales, 12 of which are UEFA grant funded as they are linked to teams playing in the Cymru Premier League, including the academy in operation at Latham Park.

“We’re delighted to be pressing ahead with our academy system, which already provides fantastic coaching and a clear talent pathway to children in Powys, and reaffirms our commitment to giving local youngsters the best possible chance to become professional footballers,” said a club spokesperson.

“Our category A status means we are able to offer some of the best footballing opportunities in Wales to young players right here in Newtown, and our brightest and best local talent does not have to leave Powys in order to progress.”

As part of the upgraded criteria required to continue to meet the highest standard for football academies in Wales, the club will be providing training sessions for young footballers three times a week, instead of the two sessions per week required previously. This is part of an FAW driven program to raise standards in the domestic game and ensure young players get the very best coaching possible.

However, due to the extra pressure on pitch availability created by the changes, unfortunately local grass-roots club Newtown Whitestars will sadly not been able to continue to use the facilities at Latham Park.

The artificial playing surface, laid in 2014, has enabled the club to provide community pitch use for thousands of young local footballers over the past decade, but due to overuse no longer meets the most stringent UEFA requirements. As part of the agreement which saw the ‘3G’ artificial pitch installed, most of the revenue generated by the pitch hire is returned into a ‘sinking fund’ for the replacement of the playing surface, which is due to take place over the next 2-3 seasons.

“Unfortunately as part of the changes we have to make to ensure we meet the criteria, extra pressure has been created on our already busy pitch schedules and our long running agreement with Newtown Whitestars, which saw them gain use of our first class facilities, has come to an end,” added the spokesperson.

“The reality is that there’s only one pitch at Latham Park and unfortunately as a result there are only so many hours we can accommodate. Should Newtown AFC not be able to meet the FAW requirements we would not be able to continue as a Category A site and the most talented youngsters in the area would be forced to travel long distances to go to academies elsewhere.

“We’re sorry we’ve not been able to come to an arrangement that works for both parties after nearly two decades of the Whitestars sharing our facilities, but we will continue to provide first class opportunities for local talent to develop through our academy system, and we wish everyone at Whitestars the very best for the forthcoming season.”