It is my absolute pleasure to be writing this blog for our RIASA Women’s page, a program that just started in Fall of 2022 on our women’s side. It is an honor to be one of the first student athletes coming from abroad joining the team! My name is Anna Turner, and I am from Seattle, Washington. I am one out of five of the student athletes who is actively at RIASA Academy, a US/UK dual program where an individual can earn a bachelor’s degree in International Sports Management and continue to grow and develop as a football player abroad in Leeds, United Kingdom.
As a fresher, just finishing her 1st semester at RIASA I can honestly say that it has been a wild ride but an absolute fun one. I had to not only adjust to college life, but also a rigid football and academic schedule that kept me on my toes and on top of everything learning and adapting to a new culture and country all together. Some people might say I am crazy to be going abroad for college, but I am absolutely having my head set for it and want this challenge!
It is so exciting to be getting the occasion at eighteen years of age to be able to play football abroad and add to your lists to live and play in England! In my eyes, it is a dream come true because we have the honor to receive UEFA A and B licensed coaches under our belt every day training us to be the best versions of ourselves, learning and growing from the very best which many athletes do not get at the college level.
This program is very special to me because it has great staff and professors who want you as student athletes to excel in our studies and football resulting in eventually after college, going off and continue being amazing whatever our dreams are! I love how I get the opportunity to be able to get trained by multiple different coaches because each coach has their own values and set of proficiencies. In my opinion, I feel like I learn a lot more during the week whilst having different coaches to adapt to.
At the start of our season since we only have five women on the team, we ladies are partnering the first year with Bradford AFC, a club in Bradford that is about 45min away from where RIASA is located, Leeds. We have been training and getting the opportunity to play with the U23s Bradford AFC Women, a top club, and an exciting occasion to train and be with the girls from the team and the coaching staff.
Essentially, we get double the training as we train twice a week with the U23s Bradford AFC Women and twice a week just us five, small group trainings, off days on Saturday and a fixture on Sundays with the Bradford team. A different perspective as the RIASA Men because their side is more evolved and has been running longer as they have three solid teams.
It is only a matter of patience and time, and our women’s program will be running in operation with a full team, and we will be able to compete for our program which is very exciting once we add more players. Furthermore, every day is challenging for me, I have good and bad days whether that be in the classroom or on the pitch and being so far from home is very difficult, but the people who surround me every day, the RIASA boys, the coaching staff, and the professors make it all worth it in the end and support me wherever they can because they care about my achievements.
I am so ready and excited to continue growing as an individual at RIASA next year and beyond, study new classes, excel on the pitch, and learn the culture even more! If it’s right for you and you want to grow as a person in a unique setting, new culture, and new country at such a young age at the college level, this place is the right fit for you!
Fresher – RIASA Academy Women