UKAF men's football head coach steps down

Watch: Flt Sgt Dyfan Pierce reflects on his time as UKAF men's head coach.

The UK Armed Forces men's football team are looking for a new head coach after Flight Sergeant Dyfan Pierce revealed he was stepping down from the role.

Flt Sgt Pierce has been in charge since March 2020 but a pandemic-disrupted reign saw few matches played.

He led the team in the 2022 Kentish Cup where a draw with the French Forces meant UKAF lost the title they had won for four consecutive tournaments, despite beating the Dutch forces 3-1 earlier in the tournament.

The Welshman was also an assistant to the previous regime so he's been involved with UKAF football since 2014.

Flt Sgt Pierce is stepping down from the role due to his decision to leave the Royal Air Force.

UKAF have some mouth-watering months ahead with a home fixture against the Irish Defence Force in June, a match against the German Bundeswehr in October and the Kentish Cup again in France in December.

The UKAF committee have appointed the current assistant coach, Corporal Daryl White, as caretaker manager for the remainder of this year

Flt Sgt Pierce has been part of the UKAF football team since 2014.
Flt Sgt Pierce has been part of the UKAF football team since 2014.

In an interview with BFBS Sport, Flt Sgt Pierce reflected on his time with the UKAF side.

Tough fixtures with the Irish Defence Force

As assistant coach to Nick de-Long, the now-former UKAF boss' first match was against the Irish Defence Force at St George’s Park in 2014 - a 4-1 defeat.

The Irish also beat them in Kilkenny in 2015 but UKAF replied with two victories on the bounce - in Barry, South Wales, in 2018 and a stunning win in Dublin in 2019.

Since taking charge as head coach, Flt Sgt Pierce's team lost on penalties to the men in green in the summer of 2021 but came back fighting to win in Dublin last year.

"Beating the Irish in Dublin last year - you know a last minute winner," he said to BFBS Sport.

"Especially with what happened at Havant [not winning the Kentish Cup] last minute and we lost on penalties the year before.

"That was just unreal really."

The UKAF team celebrate scoring against the Netherlands in the 2022 Kentish Cup.
The UKAF team celebrate scoring against the Netherlands in the 2022 Kentish Cup.

Kentish Cup highs and lows

The Kentish Cup is Europe's oldest football cup competition and sees the military teams of the UK, France and the Netherlands play against each other.

UKAF won it in 2014 with Flt Sgt Pierce as an assistant coach. It was the first time the UK side has tasted glory since 2010 and in the years after had huge success in the tournament.

They went on to win in Arnhem in 2016 and again on home soil in 2017.

The team then made UKAF history in 2019 by winning the Kentish Cup four times in a row, with Flt Sgt Pierce taking over as head coach just before Covid hit.

While they were unbeaten in the 2022 tournament, it wasn't enough as the trophy fell out of UK hands.

"Obviously really disappointed not to win the Kentish Cup," he said.

"Looking back, I've reflected on decisions I've made and probably would have changed one or two things.

"But we never lost and that's one good thing."

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