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Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy (RIASA)

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

The Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy provides student athletes with a top quality academic program and a top quality soccer opportunity while living and playing in a true football culture.

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 at RIASA 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.

At Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy, students can fully develop their playing potential and still receive a top quality professional education.

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 entry route into the professional game at some level, for some students, as they will be continually showcased against top professional academies.

Students should be of a good playing standard, either originating from a top premier select program or be an all-regional or state player.

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 entry 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.
Facilities and care

RIASA is located on the campus of Leeds Beckett. Leeds is located in the heart of soccer in the UK: the major cities soccer cities of Manchester (40 miles), Liverpool (60 Miles) and Sheffield (30 miles) are all within close proximity. Leeds lies on a high-speed rail route half way between London (200 miles) and Edinburgh (200 miles).

RIASA is a fully inclusive university with top class amenities for studying, living, training and playing, which RIASA students will have full access to all on campus facilities as part of their football and wellness development.

The training site has three full sized grass fields and one full sized 4G soccer specific turf field with several turf five-a-side soccer training fields. The training facilities are top class with classroom space on-site and involving no traveling between the soccer site and academic site.


RIASA students will be housed in single en-suite or double rooms. You will have access to a communal kitchenette and lounge.

RIASA students will be provided with 12 meals per week; Monday through Saturday. Students can provide their own breakfast of cereal, juice and fruit in their own residence kitchenette. This is to provide flexibility for students with respect to costs and personal requirements. Breakfast can be provided in the University refectory at an additional cost.


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.

Samantha Bracey
Assistant Professor of Sports Management

Samantha BraceySamantha is currently completing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Joan Duda and Dr Eleanor Quested at the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. Samantha’s research interests are concerned with the well- and ill-being experiences of children with a particular focus on team sport engagement. Specifically, she is interested in developmental aspects of children and young people’s perceptions of well- and ill-being and the relationship with motivational processes and the social context. Samantha has also engaged in research projects in elite dance, physical activity and disability sport settings investigating associations of social-environmental and motivational processes with adaptive and health-conducive participation.

Samantha has presented her research findings at national and international conferences. In 2010 Samantha was the recipient of the student poster presentation award at the biennial DSEP BPS conference. Samantha also contributes to the advancement of sports science by serving as a reviewer for international peer-reviewed academic journals. In 2011 Samantha co-organized a national conference focusing on child obesity and children’s healthy engagement in physical activity entitled ‘Healthier Physical Activity for Healthier Kids’.

Samantha has accrued 6 years’ experience of teaching in higher education and has a keen interest in continuing to develop her pedagogic skills and knowledge. In 2012 Samantha completed the postgraduate certificate in higher education at the University of Birmingham achieving the award for excellence and receiving the module prize. Samantha has been an associate of the Higher Education Academy since 2012.

Case study and testimonials

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.

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.

Find out what other RIASA students have said on our main website

Tuition Fees & Accommodation

Tuition and Accommodation fees for 2016/2017 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