First Minister opens enhanced USW Sport Park

Jayne Ludlow, Sam Warburton and Osian Roberts, with the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, opening USW's enhance Sports Park.. Neil Gibson, January 2018

Jayne Ludlow, Sam Warburton and Osian Roberts, with the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, opening USW's enhanced Sports Park. 

Carwyn Jones AM has today opened the enhanced USW Sport facility at the Treforest Industrial Estate, which includes the only full-size indoor 3G football pitch at a university in Wales.  

Also attending the event were Jayne Ludlow, Women’s National Teams Manager for the Football Association of Wales (FAW), Osian Roberts of the FAW Trust, and Sam Warburton, Cardiff Blues player and former captain of the Wales and British Lions rugby union teams.

During the opening, the VIPs were given a tour of the extended facility, seeing the 3G pitch, which is built to the Fifa Pro and World Rugby 22 standard. Being indoors, it will guarantee training all year round for rugby, football and coaching students.

There is also a new specialist centre for strength and conditioning, which provides 12 lifting platforms that can cater for an entire rugby or football squad at the same time. The floor is integrated with the platforms, so that it can support the heavy weights which athletes use.

The facilities will be used by students at the University, and will also be the new training home for the Wales women’s football under-17s, under-19s, and senior teams’ performance squads.

The enhanced facility now includes:

  • A notational analysis suite,
  • More than 30 acres of playing fields,
  • Five floodlit pitches – including a sand-dressed artificial pitch, as well as a full-size Fifa-approved 3G pitch,
  • Six grass football pitches, three grass rugby pitches, and a large changing pavilion.
  • The facilities are regularly used by professional teams, such as the Wales national football team and Cardiff City Football Club, as well as the touring New Zealand All Blacks, South Africa Springboks, and Australia Wallabies rugby squads.

Carwyn Jones said: “The investment in these facilities, which include a full-size indoor 3G pitch – one of only three at a UK University - is a true reflection of this University’s commitment to ensure students have access to first-class facilities.

“University of South Wales has a strong sporting background, with an excellent reputation for developing students to their highest potential and its partnerships with elite sport and the local community. I commend the University for its ambition and determination to bring this project to fruition and create a beacon for sport in the south Wales valleys.”

Professor Julie Lydon, USW Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted that the First Minister was able to officially open this spectacular new facility, and see for himself the efforts USW is making to strengthen its reputation as one of the leading providers of sports courses in the UK.

“Our investment in this enhanced resource is an example of our belief in the importance of giving students first-hand experience and allowing them to be immersed in their subject – from both a practical and academic level. 

“As the largest provider of football coaching degrees in Europe, being partner with 30 Premier League and English Football League clubs; having plans in place to work closely with the WRU on providing coaching and development qualifications; students providing football coaching in the USA, and further plans to support community initiatives and elite sport teams; this first-class facility will further strengthen USW’s reputation as a leader in sports education.” 

Jayne Ludlow said: “This new facility is a first for women’s football in Wales, as it brings all the conditioning and rehabilitation facilities, pitches, and the classroom environment, together in one place.

“It will also help to support our Elite Player Pathway, which gives the players involved the opportunity to combine daily coaching sessions with full-time study.

“The investment by USW in this expanded Sports Park is a major boost for everyone involved, and we’re really looking forward to using the facility to develop the women’s game in Wales.” 

Osian Roberts said: “It’s a fantastic coup for the University of South Wales to have such a wonderful facility on campus, and it’s going to be such a major addition for both the university and the community.

“I think the facility is also going to be absolutely fantastic for the grassroots of the game, for schools and clubs, and for our national elite teams, who are looking forward to working and preparing at the facility. It well help the partnership with USW, which can only get stronger and stronger.”

Sam Warburton said: "It’s fantastic to see the University of South Wales expanding on its already world-class sporting facilities with this new indoor pitch.

"We are proud of having strong relationships with the educational institutions within our region, and facilities such as the USW Sport Park is part of the reason why these valued partnerships work perfectly.

"It’s great to see the region being able to offer first-class sporting education and development on both a local and international level."

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