UK Soccer. US Education.

Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy is the world's only soccer academy offering a dual accredited UK & USA degree. Find out why you should join this unqiue programme.

Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy is the world's only soccer academy offering a dual accredited UK & USA degree. Find out why you should join this unqiue programme.


Leeds, UK


Leeds, UK

Year Established 




Over 1,000

From the UK to the US and Back Again

Mark Ellis - RIASA Academy Director

After my own professional playing career came to a premature end due to injury, and with no formal education to fall back on, I did what many former professional players do and began coaching.


Having trained during the summer months with the Tampa Bay Rowdies whilst still playing football, both to keep fit and because I loved the US, I was really keen to coach there once my playing career ended.

I spent several summers doing just that in Florida, Minnesota and Detroit and saw lots of talented young players who would often ask how they could play in England or Europe.  


At that time there were lots of British companies taking young players from the UK to study and play in the US but no opportunities for Americans to study and play in England.

The Rest is History

RIASA Badge 2020

Obviously the concept needed considerable research. Once we discovered that it was possible to do an American degree in England through a US accredited UK university, we approached Richmond, The  American International University in London, about adding a soccer program to their curriculum.


We ran a trial programme initially and the rest, as they say, is history. In that first year RIASA had 23 students, mainly from the US. As time has moved on the programme has become much more diverse with student athletes from several continents around the world with a steady increase in cohort sizes.

RIASA - UK Soccer, US Education
RIASA - UK Soccer, US Education

RIASA Soccer Academy was born

Richmond University - The American University in London

The programme is based in Leeds which is roughly over 200 miles away from Richmond in London. When the idea of RIASA was first formed, I was living in Leeds so it made sense to trial it here. 


Leeds Beckett Headingley Campus became the home of RIASA with the University providing classrooms, accommodation and training / playing facilities for the programme.


RIASA encourages players of differing levels to apply for the programme. If you have a strong personality, you are a good student who is willing to work hard, both on and off the field, you can be sure that when you finish this programme you will be a better player as well as the holder of an enviable dual accredited degree.

In addition, playing many teams of different levels whilst at RIASA will provide you with a wide cultural experience of academy football. 

RIASA in actionRIASA Soccer Student in action

Making a Difference

RIASA has great European connections

RIASA has solid partnerships with several clubs across Europe and this has enabled students to have the opportunity to play in countries such as Belgium, Holland, Spain, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Scotland.

More recently, upon invitation, our students attended the first Junior International tournament in Shenzhen, China.

As RIASA prepares for this next year, it is pleased to welcome the new partnership Richmond has secured with China Education Group Holdings Limited and look forward to the creation of even more opportunities for our students in both China, Australia, Europe and across the globe.

UK Soccer Academy. US Education

Why should you have to stop playing soccer after graduating college? As a RIASA Graduate, you will enjoy all of the benefits of the RIASA soccer programme whilst earning an internationally recognised postgraduate degree through Leeds Beckett University.

  • Earn a UK & USA recognised degree
  • Play a 9 Month Soccer Season
  • Develop Your Research Skills
  • Train Under Ex-Pro & UEFA-Licensed Coaches
  • Compete Against Professional Academy Teams
  • Travel the UK & Europe
  •  Grow as an individual. 
RIASA Squad 2020
UK Soccer Academy
UK Football Academy


Academy Director, Mark Ellis shares his thoughts as RIASA entered its tenth year of the programme. RIASA Soccer student Chris Allen lets you experience what a typical student athletes day may look like on our unique programme.

Leeds Beckett University
Richmond The American International University in London