Happy Holidays from RIASA!

A holiday letter from RIASA Director, Mark Ellis


As all of our students will be looking forward to the Christmas break here’s just a snapshot of what has been an extremely busy but enjoyable first semester 2017.

After we spent the summer interviewing for a New Head Coach, we finally found ‘the one’ and so I would like to take this opportunity to say that RIASA have been delighted with the appointment of Rob Jones, who has brought not only a wealth of experience and knowledge to the academy but an energy and enthusiasm that is what RIASA is all about. I would also like to mention Assistant Coach, Kamran Stead who has now joined us full time and has made a significant contribution to the team, working alongside and mentored by Rob. We also took on additional coaches, John Francis, with over 500 professional games under his belt and David Nichols, to work alongside our other young and upcoming coaches, Kyle Jordan and Carl Kennedy.

Our Head GK coach Karl Lenaghan has been with RIASA now for 4 years and continues passing on his experience and knowledge to our young goalkeepers. Also former Premier League player and manager John Hendrie has been with us now for almost 8 years. Another new addition to our staff, is recruitment manager Sarah Crossland, who works mainly from our executive box at Bradford City FC and with the appointment of a new full time social media expert, Charlie Sharkett the academy is going from strength to strength.

As we continue to scout from the US for student athletes, our RIASA on the Road events are expanding and we have recently added an event in Dubai in February through Richmond Alumni, Tyler Stellman who has built up a fantastic career there since graduating from Richmond University and is helping us put that particular event together.

What’s next for RIASA?

Well if you’ve been on our website lately you will have seen we are launching a new Master’s programme in London for both men and women which will provide more great opportunities to play and study in one of the world’s most contemporary and famous cities. I and Head of Operations Manager Dawn Craven have spent months working on this project, so it is an exciting time as we look forward to launching it in 2018. It also means if our undergraduate students want to change their major after the first 2 years they can move to London and carry on playing.

So, what about Next Semester?

We are certainly looking forward to a showcase game against Hibernian in Scotland and our two new European tours to Slovenia and Latvia. Four games have been planned in each country including a game against Champions League team Maribor, which will give our players a great window to be scouted.

Unfortunately the biggest disappointment of the first semester was the number of games cancelled for our West Division team, however I’m hoping we get those games played without too many postponements in the second period.

As for the Future?

The future is bright, the future is RIASA!! Leeds, London, and Rome, 3 European powerhouse cities, now that sounds AWESOME!!

London is our next big project and once we are up and running there then our President wants to expand the undergraduate programme to Rome, Italy where Richmond have another incredible campus.

Personally I have already made some strong contacts within the footballing community in Rome so watch this space for 2019!!

Finally I would just like to wish everyone, staff and students, a very HAPPY HOLIDAY and a successful new year.

Regards, Mark Ellis

RIASA director.