Chris Allen Freshman 2014-15

Through RIASA I have had opportunities to play alongside great players from all over the U.S. Prior to RIASA I had never been a part of an academy and come from rather small beginnings- only playing for my local club and high school team. However, RIASA has opened my eyes to a new, more competitive world of, not soccer, football. I have found that it takes a different type of mindset to succeed here in England. Not only do you, as an aspiring professional, have to take care of your body to play the best football possible, you also have to juggle schoolwork, and any off-field duties that may arise such as laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and the list could on.

                  My experiences with RIASA have been nothing short of fantastic; from a footballing and schooling perspective. The wealth of knowledge and experience that this coaching staff possesses inevitably sets you up for success as long as you are willing to listen and take on the information they have given you. Many of the coaches have played at the highest level so it would be foolish to disregard them as anything but helpful and wise. The schoolwork is difficult in a sense that much of the studying is on your own. Very few classes require regular testing, so it is down to the individual to decide if they wish to studying in the weeks leading up to midterms and finals or cram the day before.

                  Lastly, RIASA has helped broaden my horizons with the people I have met, and experiences I encounter. Many of the students come from different backgrounds, states, or even countries so it is essential that you learn how to get along with new people and quickly. That is why these Experience RIASA camps are so special- young men are not only being judged on their abilities as a footballer, but their abilities off the field in terms of their personal qualities and character, all to determine if they are/will be a good fit for the academy. The ability to travel Europe and see all of the great history in England is an added bonus as long as it doesn’t interfere with your football and schoolwork! As said before, once you get on campus you are an independent ADULT and must treat your daily responsibilities (training, classes, schoolwork, cooking) with diligence and seriousness. Here at RIASA the coaching staff, and teachers all encourage your development as a footballer, but most importantly as a person through the curriculum set up for you in the classroom, and on the pitch.


A Personal Story from One RIASA student player (2012)

Joey Spivack, Hackerstown, NJ

After high school I turned down many college scholarships to play in the USA; and have not looked back since joining the RIASA Academy. I played with pros from all over Europe, South America, Central America and Canada, the RIASA level is not found at any US college. The last international tournament I played was with the Red Bulls in the U17 World Club Championship.

I arrived in Leeds in early August. The minute I finished unpacking I was playing friendlies with semi-pro team Eccelshill United playing in the NCEL, under the guidance of RIASA Football Director, Mark Ellis. I made a great impression with Eccelshill United Manager Ian Banks. I was able to play and train with Eccelshill Untied and RIASA. I was truly in heaven.

The highlight of the RIASA football season was winning the league and playing in the following showcase matches; Hull City (Championship), York City (Conference), and Blackburn Rovers (Premier), Leeds United (Championship), Hudderdsfield Town (League One) Villarreal in Spain, (Premier) Motherwell (Premier) in Scotland.  I have become a better player this past year and I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead with RIASA’.

Player Testimonials

 Zack La Casse, Montana

“I chose RIASA to play year round, get a degree and to get noticed by coaches overseas.”

Dylan Cook, Texas

“RIASA not only gives you an opportunity to develop on the pitch and in the classroom, it gives you a chance to create strong friendships with people who have the same dream as you.”

Daniel Mann, Hong Kong

“RIASA lives up to what it says…football and academics are great…it’s a professional players lifestyle.”

Andy Caesar, Panama

“RIASA is unparalleled in its ability to allow student athletes to simultaneously peruse excellence in their futures as scholars and footballers. (Soccer players)”.


Nick Pastuhov, San Francisco, California

“I have been having the time of my life here in Leeds. RIASA is fitting the criteria I had in mind. I can assure you I’m not the only one saying this”.


Parent Testimonials


Troy & Cynthia Roane, San Antonio, Texas

“The RIASA program is everything our family was hoping for and expecting! My son has always wanted an opportunity to play 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”!


Hollie Stray-Gundersen, Dallas, Texas

“Living the Dream and Getting an Education “.

“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 soccer career 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.”

"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 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!"


Kim Northrop, San Francisco, California

“I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with the program and congratulate you on the excellent results for the team. Chip left home with trepidation, but I have heard only enthusiasm and excitement from him since his arrival. He says these are the best coaches he has ever had in his life, people who really understand football. Even more impressive, he likes his classes and is engaged in the academics”!

“It is obvious to me that you care a great deal for the boys and truly want them to improve and succeed. The program is such a great way for the North American players to matriculate into a foreign system and style of play. Throughout the years, I have seen several boys head off to Brazil and Europe for tryouts with teams and have a very difficult time fitting in, usually returning without making the teams. But with this program there is the time to learn and prepare for a higher level, build confidence and skill”.


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