Helen Ward hopes to see Genero Adran Leagues players in future Cymru squads

Cymru’s all-time top scorer Helen Ward hopes that the Genero Adran Leagues will one day become a source of players for the national team. 

Players from the top-flight of women’s football in Wales have previously earned call-ups, but none of the current side ply their trade in the Genero Adran Premier. 

However, the inclusion of teenager Olivia Francis in February’s squad – just six months after she departed Genero Adran Premier side Pontypridd United for Manchester United – shows the quality the league is producing and the platform it provides. 

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Ward applauded the development of the Genero Adran Leagues, particularly with some top-flight clubs adopting a semi-professional model. 

“The standard is improving every single year,” Ward said. I know Cardiff have won the league already this year but I think with Swansea and Wrexham coming up into the division it’s three big clubs in Wales trying to make an impact in the women’s game. 

“Cardiff in particular have taken that forward and driven the standards and it’s up to the other clubs to keep up with them.

“But the standard is certainly rising and we’re now seeing players getting plucked from the Adran Leagues to go and play in either the English leagues or into academies at a younger age at your top clubs. 

“Of course in terms of Welsh football you want to keep as many superstars in the Welsh game as possible but, at this point it’s probably more of a stepping stone for players. 

“But in the future I hope that the league can develop and grow to become really strong and produce players in its own right that come and play in the national team.”

Several players from the Genero Adran Leagues have been called up to the Cymru age-grade squads in recent years. 

Cardiff City defender Megan Bowen and Aberystwyth Town midfielder Imogen Scourfield were both included in this month’s WU19 squad for their UEFA Euro Qualifiers. 

“I think that’s the opportunity – for the younger players at the moment to get their chances in the Adran Leagues and work through the under 17s and 19s in terms of the women’s squad,” Ward added.

“I think at the moment with the WSL being such a highly regarded and high quality league within Europe and world football, that’s probably where you’re going to find the majority of the Welsh players playing in terms of the national team. 

“But there’s no reason why in the future you can’t get a few that come from the Adran Leagues and come and make a few appearances in the women’s first team.”

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