The RIASA provides student athletes with a top quality academic program and a top quality soccer opportunity while living and playing in a true football culture.
Further information can be found at RIASA's own website.
Click here to go to the RIASA website
The Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy “RIASA” is based in Leeds, one of the most sophisticated and economically important cities in Northern England and a major centre for both football and higher education. The programme is aimed at the elite athlete looking to develop their game at the highest level, whilst gaining an insight into the business of football and completing a 4 year BA in International Sports Management.
The programme exists to provide a positive academic and student playing experience. It is an opportunity to play in the UK and European leagues while earning an accredited American degree - building a first class cv/resume that is transferable in the US and worldwide; showcase players against top professional youth soccer academies, from premiership to league two levels; develop students’ football skills with our professional coaching team led by Football Director Mark Ellis, while also providing opportunities for students to develop and accredit their own coaching skills via FA and UEFA qualifications and to apply those skills in the community.
A number of former RIASA students are now pursuing professional careers in football, including Nahki Wells (Bradford City, Huddersfield Town).
US college soccer provides limited experience and developmental opportunities for students looking to reach their true potential. NCAA and NAIA rules restrict the playing season and times players can play, be coached, and develop their game. At Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy, students can fully develop their playing potential and still receive a top quality professional education. Students should be of a good playing standard, either
originating from a top premier select program or be an all-regional or state player.
The UK is a natural fit for the North American soccer player both culturally and for living with the best league in the world and the excitement that brings on a year round basis. It may provide an exit route into the professional game at some level, for some students, as they will be continually showcased against top professional academies.
To provide a life changing experience for student athletes as they pursue an accredited American Degree program while reaching their optimal playing potential.
RIASA at home in the Carnegie campus
For further details and pictures of the Carnegie campus, see the Facilities section.
Nahki Wells, second right, with, from left, David Baldwin, RIASA Director and Football Director Mark Ellis and City youth coach Peter Horne after a meeting with RIASA executives at Valley Parade last week.
RIASA has developed a working relationship with Bradford City FC which signed one of its former students, Nahki Wells.
Wells did so well at Bradford City FC that he was offered an improved and extended contract after he drew attention from championship clubs. Wells later signed for Huddersfield Town FC in the Championship. Bradford does not want to miss out on any further students the Academy produces in the coming years and recognizes the value the RIASA program has to professional clubs. In addition to Wells, RIASA recently had two of its former students signed by Finnish professional club, Kemi Kings, Joey Spivack from New Jersey and Christian Eissele from Florida.
Dave Baldwin, RIASA CEO said, “We’ve already set up a couple of games where a mix of the Bradford City First and Youth teams have played against RIASA. In addition, one or two of the students have trained with the club. RIASA students will now be able to play in the professional academy set up in a league format as they represent Bradford City”.
Mark Ellis added, “The working relationship with Bradford will allow our students to play as representatives of Bradford on a weekly basis against other professional academies – we presently do play showcase events against other academy teams, such as Manchester City FC last week, and will continue to do so – but now the opportunity is open for some of the RIASA students to play for Bradford City FC on a regular basis as part of their development and exposure”.
Nahki Wells believes he will be the first of many to emerge from the university program, which is directed by Richmond, The American International University in London.
Wells said, “ “Hopefully, I will give others the motivation to know that the opportunities are there if you earn them. There’s a lot of American and Caribbean talent out there ready and willing to break through. I never had any doubt I could make it but RIASA helped me to really understand the (English) game and get used to it”.
Wells went on to say,” Nowadays people come in from other countries on a two-week trial and that’s not enough time to adapt, even if you have the talent. RIASA gives you that time, and with the ex-professionals running it, you have the right people looking at you.”
Brian Haley, RIASA International Football Director echoed Nahki’s point. Haley said, “we recently had a player scouted in Dallas, Texas who was over in the USA from Australia – he was a very good player. When he learned about RIASA he set up a weeklong visit to the academy in the hope that he would be seen and signed – that just does not happen. Players need time to acclimatize to the game, develop and be provided with the right mentoring to make it in the game. Players ask me all the time; can you get me a trial? We can but we know, just like it was with Nahki, it takes time to develop and allow clubs to see you– this is the value and opportunity of the RIASA program”.
Haley concluded, “In addition, this is not just a football program it offers a high level University degree program that will make students stand out at their graduation – it provides a life changing opportunity on several levels for students and that is part of our mission statement”.
The coaching staff will be under the direction of Mark Ellis, a Professional Soccer player for Bradford City for over 14 years who will oversee the player development program at RIASA. Mark has also worked at several UK professional clubs as a coach, Leeds Utd, Huddersfield Town FC. He has also coached stint in South Africa and the USA. His coaching qualifications are up to the UEFA “A licensed standard. Mark's professional contacts span the world and he will seek players from aboard to play at RIASA.
Mark will be responsible for not only developing players to move to the next level but will oversee the relationship that RIASA has developed with professional clubs not only in the UK but in the European leagues too.
The qualification for an RIASA coaching staff member is a UEFA “A” license. There will be two full time UEFA “A licensed coaches working with Mark.
Link to this page: http://www.richmond.ac.uk/s/1430.aspx