Osian Roberts

Osian Roberts honoraries 2016

Osian Roberts was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University in recognition of his contribution to Welsh football and the education of football coaches in Wales and across the world.

"I would like to congratulate each and every student for graduating today. It is a fantastic achievement and both you and your families should be very proud on this day.

I have just come home from one of the most magical of journeys. We rewrote the history books and we saw the Welsh nation unite, enjoy and feel proud to be Welsh. Together we were stronger.

Over the last six years as assistant manager of Wales there have been dark days and there have been tragic days. But overall I have been a lucky man to be part of something so special. Yet I believe luck is when opportunity and preparation meet. When my friend the late Gary Speed honoured me with the opportunity to assist him with coaching Wales, I had to be ready. I had to be prepared.

Both education and football have been important to me throughout my career. When I was young these wonderful opportunities weren't available to me, there was no career pathway to follow and coaching was not a profession as such.

We now proudly have a unique partnership between the FAW Trust and USW, where both value education and coaching and both share a passion for developing the game and consequently people and communities. The success of the national team should prove to be the catalyst for sustaining success, and you as coaches and graduates of the university have an integral role to play in the future of our national game.

My journey started when I completed my Preliminary Badge in 1981 at age 16. I went to the US in the mid 1980s and received my university education at a wonderful university called Furman, in Greenville, South Carolina. I was the first from Wales to go to the US on a soccer scholarship.

I continued with my coaching by working with and observing wonderful coaches from all around the world every summer and experiencing life in Florida, New Orleans and in the Sierra Nevada mountains between San Francisco and Reno. I played professionally in the American Soccer League and became a player manager at age 26.

But I wanted to be accepted and respected as a coach back in Wales, therefore I came back to Wales to work. I have coached Wales at the senior level for over 60 international matches but I wasn't an overnight success. I was the Football Development Officer for Anglesey, coaching daily in primary schools and leisure centres. At the same time I coached and managed in the Welsh Premier League for eight years with Porthmadog and Rhyl. I coached the youth teams of Wales for several years and over 150 games.

Education of coaches is close to my heart. I have been a coach educator for 25 years. Seeing young coaches develop and grow matters to me. I love the grassroots of the game, it is our future, and seeing volunteer coaches having such a positive impact on young lives and on the community is important to me.

With my talented team we have created a world class coaching nation where the most respected figures of the game from around the world want to come to Wales for their education.

We have just seen what can be achieved when you are not afraid to dream, not afraid to fail. As you leave this wonderful university, having had the best education, my advice to you is to dream big, don't be afraid to fail, learn from every failure and don't repeat it. I wish you all the luck in the world, which means that when that opportunity comes your way, make sure you're prepared."