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 Find out about our unique soccer programme, where it all started and the direction in which we're heading.

The story of RIASA soccer academy

The Director and co' founder of RIASA, Mark Ellis, played professional football in the UK for 10 years. During the summer months, when not playing professionally, Mark trained with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, both to keep fit and because he loved the US. After his professional playing career came to a premature end due to injury, and with no formal education to fall back on, Mark did what many former professional players do and began coaching.

Mark spent several summers coaching in Florida, Minnesota and Detroit and saw lots of talented young players who would often ask him 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.

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.

uk soccer academy

Thrive in a Professional Environment. 

By choosing RIASA, you are joining a UK soccer academy that rivals any professional football club set up. We have access to state of the art pitches, we use FIFA standard equipment and you'll be able to track your progress with our digital tools that help you grow. 

Train, Work hard, Repeat.

High Intensity Training.  

We train on average four times per week, for at least two hours. We also regularly have other sessions in place that help you develop further. We take each  session seriously with a clear objective so that you understand the theory behind the activity.

The tools to succeed 

Partnerships That Benefit You. 

We want you to succeed on your journey, and by committing to our academy we can offer you the tools to achieve greatness. We have a working partnership with The Coaching Manual, who are the world's premier digital football coaching platform. This partnership will take your theoretical understanding of the game to a new level.  

Been there, Done that. 

RIASA Success Stories. 

Find out how our programme has helped previous students achieve their ambitions. It’s more than just ‘playing football’ here at RIASA as we look to help you embark on a once in a lifetime opportunity that helps you grow, learn and succeed. 

75+ nationalities

We are International.

Join an international football programme. No matter where you’re from in the world, if you meet the academic requirements and you want to improve your soccer, you can apply to join our ever growing roster of diverse students. 

enjoy the journey

It’s Life Changing. 

By choosing our unique soccer programme you are investing in your future. You’ll mix with like minded individuals who share the same determination to achieve success. 

a place to grow

We Develop You. 

It’s intense at our football academy. Nothing worth having in life is easy and, with this in mind, each training session is fuelled with the intention of helping you to progress.

stay focused

It’s Down to You.

We put you in positions to thrive. Every game, every training session and being surrounded by other talented soccer athletes  helps you to grow. Commitment and passion are vital in helping you succeed on your RIASA journey. 


We Are Unique. 

There isn't another soccer academy that can offer the challenging football programme and high quality teaching that is available at RIASA. Earn a top class degree and enjoy moments that last a lifetime as you venture for success at our academy in Leeds.

Start Your Journey.

Embark on a rewarding and life changing soccer programme. 

  • Study Your Passion
  • Earn a Top Class Degree
  • Play a 9-Month Soccer Season
  • Reach Your Potential in the UK