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All students at the i2i International Soccer Academy train like full-time professionals five days a week with our UEFA licensed coaches who have previously worked at clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City and Hull City to name just a few.

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i2i International Soccer Academy Coaching Staff 


Bryan Hughes - Head of Coaching


Bryan is a former professional football player who played in the English Premier League with Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic and Hull City. In a career spanning three decades, Bryan made nearly 500 pro appearances - playing against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham on a weekly basis. As well as being the first player to score a goal in the new Millenium, Bryan can also lay claim to scoring a winning penalty for Charlton against Chelsea in one of Jose Mourinho’s very few defeats at Stamford Bridge. As a UEFA A licensed coach, Bryan’s role is to oversee the pro-level coaching programme. He acts as a mentor for students on our programme.


Michael Ingham - Head of Goalkeeping


Michael is a professional goalkeeper who has made over 400 appearances for clubs such as Sunderland, Stoke City and York City. Michael’s illustrious career spans over seventeen years and has won two trophies. During his nine years at York City, Michael kept an extremely impressive 116 clean sheets in 326 games. Michael represented his country Northern Ireland from U18’s level all the way up to senior level playing against talented nations like Germany, Uruguay and Wales in International fixtures. Michael is a qualified UEFA A license coach who has recently worked with York City’s Academy Goalkeepers.


Lee Nogan - Lead Coach


Lee is a former professional footballer who in total made over 580 appearances in a career spanning over 18 years for clubs such as Watford, Reading, Oxford United and York City. Lee was a clinical striker who scored 117 goals, one of which coming in a Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium for Reading. Lee also represented his country Wales from youth level all the way up to the senior squad. Lee is a qualified UEFA A license coach who has worked at Port Vale, Halifax Town and Gateshead as Assistant Manager.  


Chris Holloway - Lead Coach


Chris is an experienced football coach who spent 20 years working at West Bromwich Albion as a development officer for the community programme and academy on top of managing the Ladies team. Following on from this stint, Chris moved on to Coventry City to also work with the Ladies team before moving up north to York City, taking on an academy role there. After a 24-month spell at Bootham Crescent, Chris then went to another Yorkshire club in Doncaster Rovers and enjoyed another two-year spell there before deciding to join the i2i International Soccer Academy.


Jason Blunt - Lead Coach


Jason began his playing career with Leeds United, making a handful of first-team appearances in the Premier League for the club, making his first team debut under Howard Wilkinson. Jason went onto play for clubs such as Blackpool, Scarborough, Doncaster Rovers and Tamworth before securing his UEFA A coaching license. Jason has extensive coaching and managerial experience boosting impressive roles as Sutton United and Leeds United U23 manager.


Darren Williams - Lead Coach 


Williams began his career at York City and made his name at Sunderland in the English Premier League for whom he signed in 1996. He moved to Cardiff City in 2004, then on Hartlepool United in 2005, and played for Bradford City during the 2007–08 season. He went on to play with Dundee, Gateshead and Gainsborough Trinity before joining Whitby. Darren is a UEFA A license coach and has also managed semi-professional team Whitby Town.


Paul Bryson - Lead Coach


Paul brings a wealth of experience to our coaching team up at Northumbria University after spending 20 years as an U18 Academy Coach at Sunderland AFC. During his time with the Black Cats he helped develop the game of Premier League and Champions League winner Jordan Henderson, now the captain of Liverpool. Paul also enjoyed a lengthy stint leading the National College team for 8 years. Along with Henderson, he also helped nurture the likes of Chris Basham (Sheffield United), Adam Reach (Sheffield Wednesday), Martyn Waghorn (Derby County) and Sam Greenwood (Leeds United).


Chris Fairless - Lead Coach Female


Chris is the first ever lead coach of the i2i International Women’s Soccer Academy and brings a tremendous amount of experience with him after being Assistant Manager at Middlesbrough Women for over two years. Chris also has experience working in the Men’s game with Championship club Middlesbrough coaching their Academy.


Stu Brightwell - Lead Coach


Stuart started his career out at none other than Manchester United playing in their youth system before moving onto a more local side for him in Hartlepool United. The midfielder also featured for Spennymoor United before heading stateside to play in the USL impressing with the Carolina Railhawks playing 25 times.


Ben Carr - Lead Coach


Ben is a UEFA A license coach and joined us in September 2022. He has a vast array of coaching experience already under his belt having worked at Newcastle United’s Academy and Sunderland. Ben also has experience working as a Performance Analyst which will be a fantastic asset for the academy.


Nicky Deverdics - Coach


Nicky is a professional footballer who graduated out of the world famous Newcastle United Academy and featured for some fantastic clubs throughout his career including the likes of Hartlepool United, Wrexham, Barnet, Gretna, Dover Athletic and Gateshead. Nicky brings a real passion and energetic vibe to the team with his enthusiastic coaching style.


Danial Parker - Coach


Dan is a UEFA B licensed coach who also holds FA Youth Award Modules 1, 2 FA Futsal and FA Coaching Disabled Footballers. Dan was previously the Community manager for York City Football Club Foundation and has 20 years’ experience working in football development. He has also worked for York City FC centre of excellence/Academy working for 4 years with the under 15/16 squads and has experience in female football having coached within the North Yorkshire Girls Centre of excellence.


Neil Sanderson - Coach


Nelly was a successful goalkeeper playing with both York Railway Institute and York City (1984-86). Nelly set up City Football Development and has overseen the coaching of hundreds of youngsters across Yorkshire. Dozens of his players have since progressed to professional clubs with many also representing their national youth teams. CFD and i2i joined forces at the beginning of 2015 – with both companies sharing the same philosophy on how to best develop young players.


Alex Purver - Coach


Alex is an extremely promising young coach who has an outstanding passion in getting the best out of every individual he works with. He began his playing career at Leeds United joining his boyhood club at six years of age playing all the way through their academy before signing his first professional contract in 2014. Following on from his time at Leeds, Alex enjoyed a two-year spell at Swedish side Ostersunds FK in 2019. Two years later, Alex joined semi-professional side Darlington allowing him to focus more on his coaching career.  


Mark Maspero - Coach


Mark is a UEFA B qualified coach who has several years’ experience working with professional football academies including Doncaster Rovers, Scunthorpe United and Hull City. Prior to joining us in February 2022, Mark was the manager of semi-professional club, Farsley Celtic U23’s.


Lee Makel - Coach


Lee is a former professional footballer who made over 380 appearances in the game playing for the likes of Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield Town and Bradford City. Lee was part of the Blackburn Rovers squad that won the Premier League in 1994/1995 alongside Alan Shearer and managed by former Liverpool legend; Kenny Dalglish. 


Lauren Robson - Coach


Lauren joined us in September 2022 and will assist Chris Fairless in coaching our Women’s Academy which continues to go from strength to strength. Lauren is a young, passionate coach who has previously worked at Huddersfield Town Park View, the reigning National Football Youth League champions. Alongside her coaching career, Lauren also plays for Newcastle United Women after moving up the pyramid from Middlesbrough.


Ian Aitken - Goalkeeping Coach


Ian is a UEFA B licensed coach and during his career has worked with Newcastle United’s Academy and Newcastle United Women. Ian has a wealth of experience behind him as both a player and a coach. He made over 600 appearances as a goalkeeper for the likes of Gateshead, Gretna and Harrogate Town. Ian is also current Goalkeeper Coach at National League North side Blyth Spartans alongside fellow i2i coach Nicky Deverdics.


i2i International Soccer Academy Management


Danny Gore - Director of Sport


Danny has worked at i2i for more than a decade where he has a proven track record in senior management roles. He now oversees all elements of i2i Sports and is responsible for the International Soccer Academy, the domestic Soccer Academy and Tadcaster Albion. He is a skilled organiser who is instrumental in securing sponsorship and funding for i2i Sports.


Corey Roper - Head of Recruitment


After signing for Leeds United’s Academy at the age of 7, Corey signed a scholarship in 2012 before going on to represent the whites at U18 and U21 level. More recently, Corey signed a three-year deal at Wrexham FC making his debut in 2015. Corey recently graduated from university with a 1st class Honors degree in Sports Coaching, along with gaining his Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification and Level 2 Fitness Instructor.


i2i Player Recruitment

Sports Recruiters

Danny & Sam are Sports Recruiters at the i2i International Soccer Academy who are responsible for recruiting soccer student athletes both abroad and in the UK. They frequently travel to North America to identify potential students and to spread the word about the opportunities available through the Academy.

Danny Wiltshire


Danny is a Sports Recruiter at the i2i International Soccer Academy who are responsible for recruiting soccer student athletes both abroad and in the UK. Danny frequently travels to North America to identify potential students and to spread the word about the opportunities available through the Academy.


Sam Summerbee


Sam joined the i2i recruitment team at the beginning of the 2022/23 season. Sam enjoyed many of his youth playing years at Manchester City all the way up to the U16 age group. Following on from that he also enjoyed playing for Accrington Stanley, FC United of Manchester and Hyde United as well as getting the opportunity to train with NYCFC and players like David Villa and Andrea Pirlo. Sam has a great track record of recruiting international student athletes to England and also has experience of attending various tournaments in the USA.


Jay Taylor - Digital Media Manager


In 2015 Jay graduated from the University College of Football Business with an Honours degree in Football Business & Media.  Jay’s role with the i2i International Soccer Academy and i2i’s UK Academy is to manage all social media channels providing fresh and innovative content including pictures, posters, videos and interviews on a daily basis. Jay is also Media Manager at i2i’s Semi-Professional club Tadcaster Albion which includes running all social media channels, filming matches and website editing. Jay recently experienced how the Soccer media works in the United States after covering Orlando City Soccer Club in the MLS meeting star players Kaka, Julio Baptista and Antonio Nocerino.