FORMER Welsh international Steve Lowndes has returned to Cirencester Academy.

The former academy director makes a welcome return to the club after a period as technical director at Halifax City Soccer Club in Canada. The former Newport and Wales winger will work closely with current academy manager Ross Langworthy.

Lowndes made more than 600 senior club appearances at Newport County, Millwall, Barnsley & Hereford United, across over 15 years in the professional game, as well as being capped 10 times by his country. Lowndes was part of the Newport County side that won promotion from the old Division Four and the Welsh Cup, before reaching the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Since retiring from professional football, Lowndes qualified as a sports therapist and spent five years providing physiotherapy cover to the Welsh international team.

Lowndes went on to gain the UEFA A Licence and took on the academy director role at Cirencester Town FC, where he spent 17 years developing local players, many of whom went on to have illustrious professional and semi-professional careers.

A delighted Langworthy said of the appointment: “ Steve Lowndes has a long history with the club and is passionate about supporting young players starting out their journey into senior football.

“Not only will Steve’s playing and coaching experience be of huge benefit to our young players, his many years experience of teaching physical education and BTEC Sport will ensure we continue to deliver high quality education to our students.

“Steve’s knowledge in sports physiotherapy and injuries will also enable or students to receive treatment and advice on a daily basis to keep them in the best condition possible.

“After a fantastic first year to the new-look Academy Programme, Lowndes’ appointment brings a wealth of experience as we strive to continue to provide the very highest standards to our young players.”