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Welsh Football goes global with expansion into the USA

Nick Davidson - head of business development at FAW

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is on track to significantly grow its exports following a surge in demand for its coaching qualifications in the US, thanks to support from the Welsh Government.

The FAW, which employs over 150 coaches across Wales, currently delivers coaching courses in more than seven states across the Unites States including Ohio, California, South Carolina, Kansas, Denver, New York and North Carolina, and is in talks to secure an additional multimillion dollar deal with a US financial institution in the coming months off the back of its success in the region.

Since the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the governing body for Welsh football has seen growing interest in its international coaching programmes, with revenues from overseas courses having trebled in the last year.

Today, the FAW exports its coaching qualifications to more than seven countries and regions across the globe including China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines and the US, with international sales accounting for more than £300,000 a year.

The organisation originally began exporting its football coaching qualifications following Wales’ success in the 2016 Euros which led to global demand for the European, and particularly the Welsh, way of coaching players. The courses, delivered via online workshops, e-learning and coursework work to improve candidates’ ability to plan, prepare, deliver and reflect on coaching sessions to support the development of players.

Thanks to a string of new partnerships, the FAW is now set to grow its international trade by 10% year on year up to 2026. The target ties in with a wider expansion strategy to grow in the US market ahead of the 2026 World Cup being hosted by the US and follows on from the FAW joining a Welsh Government organised Trade Mission to North Carolina and South Carolina in late 2022.

Nick Davidson, head of business development at FAW, said: “Exporting to the US has been a key part of our recent international strategy following success in countries further afield like China and Japan. We see a huge opportunity for our coaching courses in the US, especially in the lead up to the next world cup, as well as opportunities to attract inward investment for our domestic coaching qualifications in turn.”

Support from the Welsh Government has played a key role in the company’s export growth since 2017. As well as participating in Welsh Government market visits to China, Hong Kong and the US, the FAW has received help to understand local markets and identify possible deals overseas thanks to the on-the-ground expertise of international trade advisors.

Nick added: “Exporting is something we considered early on with our coaching business, but without the encouragement, financial support and market knowledge of the Welsh Government, we’d still be thinking about it.

“Their expertise in market has been truly invaluable for us. International trade advisors have saved us time and energy, researching new markets, and their insider knowledge has helped advise us on potential opportunities that have directly led to new deals for us. Take North Carolina – we had no idea how lucrative this market could be for us, but guidance from the Welsh Government opened our eyes to this and enabled us to secure a foothold in the region.”

Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy, said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the FAW on their exporting journey so far. The revenue they are generating through exporting is not only helping them support more women and girls to watch, play, volunteer, or work in the game, it is also allowing them to expand their coaching services into deprived communities. Their innovative approach to exporting is taking the Welsh brand globally while continuing to support grassroots sports here in Wales.”