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Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy (RIASA)

RIASAThe 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.

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.

The Programme

The Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA) is located in Leeds.

RIASASuccessful completion of the strong undergraduate academic program will enable graduates to either pursue careers as professional sports persons or gain employment in associated business professions. It may provide an exit route into the professional game at some level, for some students, as they will have the opportunity to be showcased against top professional academies.Skilled soccer players with a desire to achieve professionalism in the sport have the opportunity to gain a degree that brings together the best in American business education and British sports training.

RIASA students also get the opportunity to study and practice for the Football Association’s Level 1 and level 2 coaching certificates, and ultimately the profrssional UEFA coaching awards.


RIASA is located in Leeds, which is in close proximity to the other major UK cities of York, Bradford, Manchester, and Sheffield. It lies on an easy rail route half way between London and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Carnegie Campus FacilitiesThe Soccer Training Site
The Carnegie campus training site has three full sized grass fields and two full sized third generation soccer specific turf fields within the grounds. Students may have to travel to some of the other soccer sites, and where necessary transport will be provided.

For further details of the Carnegie campus facilities follow the link below:

Carnegie Campus Facilities

Training & Playing Equipment
As part of costs RIASA will provide all training equipment and travel track suits, polo’s, sweatshirts and playing uniforms. Players need to provide their own playing shoes.

Player Representation

RIASA will help with players contracts with interested professional clubs, through the correct channels and licensed football agents, should the opportunity arise. This will be under the direction of Mr. John Hendrie

Students will have a balanced timetable between the academic degree program, football training, and games. Students will attend classes part of each week day, and be expected to spend some of their free time in private study. They will also train on most week days, with a mixture of field and skills training and indoor fitness training, with league games on Wednesday and Saturday. Sunday will be a recovery and rest day. The showcase games will take place on a weekday afternoon at professional youth academy sites and league games will be played at the home and away club locations in Yorkshire and the north of England.

Why Choose This Programme?

Why this Programme?

US college soccer provides a very limited experience and developmental opportunity for students to reach their potential. NCAA and NAIA rules restrict the playing season and times players can play, be coached and develop their game. There are many students who would love to fully develop their playing potential and still receive the opportunity of a top quality professional education. Now they can at Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy in the UK.

Who Should Consider this Programme?

The program is open to all students who wish to pursue an American Degree while playing in a top quality soccer academy with professional coaching and playing opportunities.

Students must meet the admission requirements of Richmond, The American International University in London.

Students who are interested in the program should contact the International Recruitment Coordinator, Dr Brian Haley, to discuss the program and consider suitability. Students should be of a good playing and academic standards either coming from a top premier select program or an all-regional or state player. Of course each individual player will be considered on an individual basis; the program is open to those who are willing to learn and improve their game and looking for a student experience that is different from one that they can gain while studying and playing elsewhere.

Coaching Certification

Players at RIASA will also be eligible to undertake additional FA and UEFA coaching courses under the direction of Mark Ellis. Students will qualify as a licensed UEFA coach, recognized as one of the best in the world. Students seeking a professional career in coaching will also be able to pursue the UEFA A license course. Check for details.


Students will be able to work in the UK for 20 hours per week under their visa agreements. This will allow players to play semi professional soccer if they so wish and are good enough or remain an amateur within the RIASA structure and retain NCAA status eligibility.

Total Athlete Development

RIASA will be using the world’s first interactive technology system for coaching education and player development. This system is cutting edge and presently being used by several MLS academy and professional teams as well as top premier select teams in North America. RIASA is committed to integrate the next level of coaching beyond the athletic field to using on line coaching education for players and staff to reach optimal performance both on the field and in the classroom.


Athletic Directors

 Mr. Mark Ellis Mr. Mark Ellis
Coaching Director

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 coaching stints 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 in addition to a GK coach

John HendrieJohn Hendrie
Professional Academy Coordinator, Player Representative & Consultant

John played at the Premiership level with Newcastle United, Middelsborough, Leeds United, Barnsley and Bradford City FC. John has also been the manager of Barnsley FC when they were in the English Premiership.; John also holds the UEFA “A” Coaching License.

John has numerous contacts within the professional game and will be responsible for coordinating the games for RIASA with professional youth team academies. John will represent all RIASA players who are looking to play at any professional level. He has already managed and consulted with several top premiership players including Robbie Savage, Leicester City FC, Birmingham City FC and Welsh International, Mark Schwarzer Australian International and Fulham Goalkeeper, Stuart Mc Call Bradford City FC Manager, Everton and Scotland International, and Dean Windass, Bradford City & Hull City FC.

John’s son is presently on the books at Manchester United Professional Youth Academy.

Brian Haley PhD.
International Director

Brian is a professional college coach in the US since 1989 after moving to the US from England. He holds a Doctorate in Education as well as the Premier Coaching license from the National Soccer Coaching Association of America. Brian will oversee the recruitment of the student athlete to the RIASA program in the UK. He will work closely with both the CEO of RIASA and the Football Director to ensure the student experience is one of quality and provides the right opportunity for players and meets their expectations. Brian played for a number of semi professional teams in the UK.

Dale Friesen
Technology Director
Founder and CEO of Scouting Solutions

Dale will oversee the Marketing, Web design and total on line athlete development program. IASA will be using the world’s first interactive technology system for coaching education and player development. This system is cutting edge and presently being used by several MLS academy and professional teams as well as top premier select teams in North America. RIASA is committed to integrate the next level of coaching beyond the athletic field to using on line coaching education for players and staff to reach optimal performance both on the field and in the classroom.

Academic Staff

Dr Paul LloydDr Paul Lloyd
Director of RIASA

Welcome letter from Paul LLoyd for new students

After graduating from Leeds University with a BA in Communication Arts and Public Media, Paul worked as a manager within the UK National Health Service, in areas such as the blood transfusion service, and as a Senior Health Promotion Officer. His work in Health Education led to his retraining as a teacher in adult education, and he taught a wide range of health and social studies subjects. He gained his Masters degree in Education from Southampton University and taught on a range of Further, Higher and Adult Education programmes, as well as in teacher education courses, developing an interest in leadership development.

He has also worked for many years with a national youth organization in the development and delivery of youth leadership development programmes, and has been the lead tutor for a large group of regional trainers who continue the development of the initiative.

Moving into management within Higher Education ten years ago, Paul has taken charge of two large student unions as Chief Executive. This role included the management of both welfare and business operations and leading the transition of both organizations to registered charities. Paul was not only responsible for major business and management initiatives within these organisations, he also continued his interest in leadership development through work with the elected student sabbatical officers. His doctoral thesis for Leeds University, continued this interest in leadership development and examined the training and development of student leaders within student union governance.

He is currently researching Communities of Practice within a coaching environment.

Conferences, Presentations and Proceedings

  • A history of student unions in the UK, ACUI Region 1 conference eastern Connecticut State University, 2009
  • A brief history of student unions in the UK and Ireland, ACUI International Conference, New York 2010, with Redmond, U. and Russell, I.
  • Perceptions of students’ union leadership development, BELMAS conference, Reading, 2010

Teressa Cleary
U.S. Admissions Manager – Boston
Telephone: (617) 450 5617 Fax: (617) 450 5601

Tessa Cleary is the U.S. Admissions Manager for Richmond’s U.S. Admissions Office in Boston, Massachusetts.

She believes that Richmond’s objective to provide each student with a global education is essential to one’s success in today’s market. The knowledge one gains at Richmond will no doubt serve as a valuable asset in our global economy.

She grew up in southeastern Massachusetts and attended college in New Hampshire, where she earned a degree in English with a concentration in Journalism.

Prior to taking this position at Richmond in the summer of 2008, she worked as a reporter for four years, covering local government, crime, courts and schools. She also wrote in- depth enterprise pieces and features, produced video content and took photographs.

Tessa loves to travel and hopes for the opportunity to see more of the world.

Dr Colin HowleyDr Colin Howley, BA (Hons), MA, Ph.D. (University of Sheffield)
Assistant Professor Richmond International Academic Soccer Academy

With an interdisciplinary academic background in American literature and cultural studies, Dr Howley’s research interests focus upon areas of contemporary cultural practice – with a particular emphasis upon the roles of sporting cultures, musical production and masculine identities.

Dr Howley has regularly presented research papers at international conferences, including British Association of American Studies (BAAS) and the Sports Literature Association (SLA), on subjects ranging from the fiction of author Paul Beatty to popular sporting ethnography.

He has published academic articles on author John Edgar Wideman, filmmaker Spike Lee and the materiality of Hip-hop culture in Aethlon and Vanguard Online. More recently, he was invited as a specialist curator for a season of jazz films for independent cinema in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Colin Howley is currently pursuing further research into the representation of sporting cultures in contemporary cinema, documentary and literary fiction.

Select Conference Papers

  • Jun. 2012 ‘Documentary Ethnography and the Representation of Community in Soul in the Hole’ – Sports Literature Association annual conference, Springfield, MA.
  • Apr. 2009 ‘Invisible Views’: Blackness, Urban Bodies and Community in John Edgar Wideman’s Two Cities: A Love Story’ – British Association for American Studies annual conference, Nottingham.
  • May. 2006 ‘“Reconsidering Muscular Assimilation”: Basketball, Race and Class in John Edgar Wideman’s Brothers and Keepers’ – International Sporting Cultures Conference, Liverpool.
  • Apr. 2004 ‘Writing Hoop Dreams: Basketball and the Quest for the American Dream’ – British Association for American Studies annual conference, Manchester.
  • Jun. 2003 ‘“Ball and Chain”: The Basketball Court and the Trope of the Prison Yard In Contemporary African American Narratives’ – Sports Literature Association annual conference, Springfield, MA.
  • Apr. 2002 ‘“In Your Face”: African American Culture and the Aesthetics of Basketball In Contemporary American Fiction’ – British Association for American Studies annual conference, Oxford.

Albert DansoAlbert Danso
Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Economics

BA (Ghana), MSc (Leeds) and PhD (Pursuing at the York Management School)

Albert holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ghana, MSc from the Leeds Business School and he is currently at the completion stages of a PhD (in Finance) at the York Management School. Albert began his career with the Richmond University in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Economics. Before joining Richmond University, Albert was teaching at the Leeds Metropolitan University as a Part time Lecturer (mathematics) in the International foundation Programme. He also taught in Ghana for several years. Albert’s teaching experience lies in the areas of Finance, Mathematics, Economies and Research Methods.

Selected Articles and conference papers:

  • Adomako, S., Danso, A. & Ampadu, E. (In press). Institutional Outlook of Entrepreneurial Climate in Ghana. International Journal of Social Economics
  • Danso, A., & Adomako. S. (In press). The financial behaviour of firms and financial crisis. Managerial Finance Journal.
  • Adomako, S. & Danso, A. (2014). Regulatory environment, environmental dynamism, political ties and performance. Study of entrepreneurial firms in a developing economy. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 21( 2), 212- 229.
  • Adomako, S., Gasor, G. & Danso (2013). Examining human resource managers’ involvement in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) process in Ghana, Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 14(6): 25-36.


  • Danso, A. and S. Adomako (2014). Interrelationships between entrepreneurial risk-taking, network ties, and firm performance. British Academy of Management, 9th to 11th September 2014 – Belfast Waterfront, Northern Ireland.
  • Danso, A. (2013). Firm-level Determinants of Capital Structure: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa Accounting and Finance Association Conference, Kampala, Uganda. 3rd Sept- 6th Sept. 2013.

Dr Lucia MorawskaDr Lucia Morawska
Adjunct Professor Richmond International Academic Soccer Academy

Educated in the UK and Poland, I specialise in Modern European History and Anthropology. My PhD dissertation: : Lelov: cultural memory and a Jewish town. Investigating the identity of an ultra-orthodox society is due for submission shortly. It is planned to be published also as a non-academic work to become available to the wider public.

I also have a long-standing interest in the philosophy and critical thinking.
Previously, I researched in the Philosophy of Dialogue and Jewish Mysticism which resulted in my Masters Dissertation: Mystical and kabbalistic ideas in Martin Bubber’s Philosophy of Dialogue. Role of the Other and its linguistic creation. My BA degree has trained me to cover Social Sciences and Humanities and my subject specialism is History and History of Philosophy and Ethics with an elective in Cultural History. I have also studied Politics and Journalism in addition to these core subjects.

I taught at University of Huddersfield before coming to Richmond to lecture in World Cultural History and Introduction to Philosophy at IASA in Leeds.

Alex BondAlex Bond
Adjunct Instructor Richmond International Academic Soccer Academy

Currently a Sport Management Doctoral Researcher in the final stages, Alex has a multidisciplinary academic and research philosophy, connecting disciplines such as Sport Law, Sport Economics, Sport Marketing and Sport Finance, which transpires into his teaching.
Alex is an active researcher in Sport Management currently working on the following projects;

  • A critical economic and financial analysis of the Super League, focusing on the effects league restructuring and demand analysis
  • A critical investigation to the marketing strategies and planning of Professional Rugby League clubs outside the top flight
  • A critical evaluation of the CPD opportunities available to Rugby League Players to aid the development of an educational package
  • Premier League Health Project (Statistical Support)
  • A critical Economic analysis of The Football League (Submitted for Publication Review)

His Doctoral Research draws together Sport Consumption Motives, Sport Economics Determinants of Demand and Fan Identification by developing a structural model for English Football consumption. He is set to present at the 3rd Global Sport conference in Oxford and the European Association of Sport Management (EASM) Conference in Coventry. Currently working towards becoming an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy demonstrates his commitment to pedagogy.

Our Experience

RIASA has developed a working relationship with Bradford City FC which signed one of its former students, Nahki Wells.

Nahki WellsWells 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”.

Our Commitment


To provide a life changing experience for student athletes as they pursue an accredited American Degree program while reaching their optimal playing potential.

Our Goals

  • To provide a positive student academic and athletic experience. It is a first class opportunity for earning an accredited American degree whilst playing in the UK leagues.
  • To provide a top class academic degree program that is accredited in the US that helps build a top class resume that is transferable back to the US or within the European Education system.
  • To showcase players against top professional youth soccer academies, from premiership to league two levels in addition to and providing exit routes within the game not available to the North American soccer player.
  • To provide opportunities to help the student athlete grow, intellectually, socially and interpersonally utilizing the vast rich cultural heritage of the UK.


Living the Dream and Getting an Education, – A parent’s perspective
Hollie Stray-Gundersen

“As parents of committed soccer players, we want our child’s dreams to come true. Those dreams of moving to Europe, to England, training on the fields where the game of “football” was born, and eventually being coached and developed into a professional soccer player — getting that contract. We teach our kids to reach for the stars, to pursue their dreams. We want them to follow their hearts — but not at the expense of a College Degree. As parents, we also know the tremendous value of that four- year- degree and how critical it is to any “post soccer” success. The idea of pursuing a professional soccer career in Europe while earning an American Accredited Degree in Europe was not possible — until now. The Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA) is the World’s first opportunity for the North American player to earn an Accredited American Four-Year-Degree while playing in a professional academy in the UK — it is the real deal. The academics are funneled through UK Richmond, The American International Accredited University in London. The soccer academy, training facilities, living accommodations, and classes are located in Leeds, England.”

“My son, Kjell is one of the inaugural student/players of RIASA, and has already played on a semi professional team while in the program. He continues to develop and learn from the entire coaching staff at RIASA as he pursues his professional soccer dream and four-year-American Accredited degree in International Business with an emphasis on Sport. He is also very excited to have begun his UEFA “License A” Coaching Course! Not only is he living and breathing the dream of English Football, but also setting himself up for success after playing soccer. He and his teammates will be traveling to Spain in March for their first out of the country showcase!”

Troy & Cynthia Roane

The RIASA program is everything our family was hoping for and expecting! My son has always wanted an opportunity to play professional soccer, this program not only allows him to showcase in front of some of the top clubs in the professional soccer world, but it also allows him to get his 4 year college degree as well! All aspects of the program are professionally run with great accommodations, top notch professional training, and quality care for the boys at an affordable cost. We are extremely pleased with the quality of soccer and academics RIASA offers! We recommend RIASA to anyone interested in an International soccer experience and college education, the only program of its kind!

Tuition Fees & Accommodation

Tuition and Accommodation fees for 2015/2016 are £22,000 inclusive.

Please Note: All fees include accommodation and students are expected to take housing for the duration of the programme.

RIASA Fee Sheet 2015_16

Richmond University Undergraduate Prospectus