Caroline Rudoni

Cecil Nyako

Luke Medley


Yeong Kang CHO


Fiifi Assan

Patrik Ruzicka


Nigel James

Academy Director

UEFA Coach, UEFA Licence (with youth module 4)

As a youth player at age 14, Nigel started his career at Luton Town, moving to Southampton, Farnborough Town, Woking and lastly to Aldershot aged 19.  A motor bike accident halted his playing career and out of this adversity came his true calling, coaching youth players to become future footballers.


Gwynn Berry was Nigel’s mentor, and the man who instilled in him the passion for coaching.  Through his guidance Nigel realised that developing individual players was key, and that not every player is the same; they all develop at different stages and there is no ‘one size fits all’ methodology.

Nigel’s own experience of playing at the non-league level, highlighted that this aggressive approach was not the place for some young players who needed mentoring according to their ability.  The non-league had a ‘jump straight in with the adults’ mentality and some players had no chance.  Nigel James Elite Coaching, established in 2002, is that stepping stone which grounds players and teaches them what to expect when they are entering academy football, crucial in a future footballer’s evolution into a bona fide player.  At Gwynn’s Coerver Coaching centre, Chessington, Nigel got the feel for team development and youth coaching.  Other mentors who made a lasting impression on him were Woking’s Jeff Chappell and Aldershot’s George Borg, fantastic coaches who produced great players with panache and determination.


The Nigel James ethos is total repetition of core skills, 3-4 times a week on pure ball mastery to become an elite technician.  Nigel’s methodology works producing results that are unrivalled. Signed youth players (boys and girls)  train alongside regular youth players who are working toward this end goal.  This elite structure ensures that all players reach their full potential, though at different times.  All children are integrated at the Nigel James Academy and they all go on to excel not only in their footballing ability, but in their personal lives too learning confidence, discipline and respect through attending these sessions.


In addition to his immense talent as a coach, Nigel has worked within the professional side of the game for 14 years as a talent ID scout initially for Fulham, Reading and Tottenham and finally returning to Reading in 2016.  His ability is recognised throughout the industry and other premiership clubs frequently seek his advice over players to sign.


What makes NJEC totally unique is that Nigel has also witnessed the parents side to players striving for a contract with an academy.  His eldest son Joshua was at Fulham from the age of 7-11 and at Reading from 11-16.  Nigel understands the emotional strain for both player and parent when at 16 a scholarship is not offered.  His second eldest Reece has been at Chelsea from the age of 6, and now age 17 has been offered his professional contract with Chelsea and been selected to play for England not only in his own age group but for England U20’s where he was recently awarded ‘Young player of the Tournament’ in Toulon, France.  Nigel has experienced every parent’s dilemma when selecting an appropriate football agent to support a professional career, and has a great understanding of the type of support each agent can offer.  His daughter Lauren, 15, has played for both Chelsea and Arsenal as well as playing for England.  Her talent is such that she often plays 2 years ahead of her age group and is currently preparing to sign for Arsenal ladies once she reaches 16.


NJEC has now added a platform for players age 16 upwards who have not yet been signed by a professional club, by entering a team into the Allied Counties league.  In its first year, this team gained promotion to the premier division, won the Grant McLellan Youth cup and had players scouted and put on trial at professional clubs – 2 of whom have recently been offered contracts with Chelsea U18’s.  Players in all age groups will be observed regularly by professional scouts and offered the opportunity to be showcased at tournaments when Nigel feels they are ready.


Luke Medley

Academy Technical Development Coach

Qualifications and positions:

  + UEFA B Licence

  + VTCT Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy

  + Ex-professional for Bradford City, Barnet F.C, Aldershot Town F.C,

      Mansfield Town F.C, Lincoln City F.C

  + Academy player at Tottenham Hotspur

  + Currently Academy coach at Chelsea Football Club


Luke has been with the Academy for 3 years, also working at Fulham, Crystal Palace and Chelsea Football clubs respectively. His inspiration when he was playing was one coach, Ricardo Moniz, First Team Manager at Notts County, a strict but fair coach who got amazing results and is partly the reason he got into coaching.


As an ex-professional, his coaching skills and ability to develop players is excellent, and his rapport with the children is unrivalled. Luke has a varied array of experience playing for multiple football clubs and has a passion for coaching and gaining the very best out of every individual player. Luke is keen to advocate a strict work ethic and depicts what it is to truly love and enjoy the game through hard work and tenacity. Seeing what players couldn’t do weeks before and then go out and create magic is what drives him. Luke likes to get to know the players as individuals on a personal level, and at only 26 has a great rapport with them. On an aside, making kids feel comfortable and loved, mentoring them, getting them to reach their personal best in the game, approaching children with both discipline and kindness is what the game is all about for Luke.


Nigel says: “ Luke’s skills have been so helpful to the academy. He has a great ability with the kids we train and mentor and his experience as an ex-footballer has assisted his coaching and relationship with the children.”

Cecil Nyako

Assistant Manager. Coaching and Mentoring

Qualifications and positions:

  + Undertaking UEFA B Licence

  + FA level 2

  + Director of Football, St Andrew’s Youth Club, London

Cecil, a coach for 11 years, has been with the Nigel James Elite Coaching Academy for 4 years and has also played an integral role in delivering the Nigel James Primary School Physical Education classes, undertaken at a number of schools in the Richmond area.


Cecil’s expertise lies in his passion for developing players and understanding the game. He is a believer that different coaching styles apply to the individual child and young person and since no two people are the same, the coach needs to adjust his teaching methods accordingly. Cecil relishes his role as a mentor to the children and he has combined football with youth work at the world’s longest established youth club, to attain the position of Director of Football. Interacting with children from all walks of life has enabled Cecil to recognise a youth’s social development, as well as their football development, which he believes go hand-in-hand with being a top coach. Cecil advocates that football skills are related to life skills and that discipline, tenacity, punctuality and a work ethic are all essential to forming, well-rounded individuals.


Cecil’s future goals include, completing his level 3 UEFA B Licence and to take a deeper look into academy football and developing players, possibly exploring continental and emerging styles.


Nigel Says: “ Cecil brings 11 years experience to the academy and relates to the children, bringing out the best in them. His football specific strength, agility and quickness work has been invaluable and he is a cherished member of the Nigel James Academy.”


Joss Hole

Academy Coach

Qualifications and positions:

  + FA Level 2 Certificate in Coaching

  + Level 3 NVQ PE School Sport

  + Ex-Academy player at Basingstoke Town FC

  + Previous scholar at Nigel James Elite Coaching Academy

  + Teaching Assistant - Primary School


As a scholar Joss trained with the Nigel James Academy since 2014 prior to signing for Basingstoke Town FC Academy.  At the age of 18 he has now returned to NJEC as the youngest member of the coaching staff.


Joss is testament to the transformation that Nigel James coaching can achieve not only as a player but also as an aspiring coach, developing his long term coaching and football career in parallel to inspiring the next generation of young talent at the Nigel James Academy alongside the coaches that encouraged him.


Joss continues his coaching education at the reputable sports faculty at Chichester University where he commenced his BSc (Hons) degree in Football Coaching and Performance in September 2016 before embarking on his UEFA badges.




Yeong Kang CHO

Academy Coach

Qualifications and positions:

  +Asian Football Confederations licence C football coaching

  + FA level 2 in Coaching Football

  + Ex-professional for Goyang Zaicro



Yeong brings a wealth of experience to the Nigel James academy having played professional football for Goyang Zaicro in South Korea.  Following his move to the UK he focused his attention on coaching football and his passion and enthusiasm to develop young players is evident.  Yeong is committed to the ethos of core skill repetition with the belief that this truly produces elite technicians and his coaching style incorporates technical and physical skills within a fast pace environment.



De’juane Taylor-Crossdale

Academy Coach

Qualifications and positions:

  + FA Level 2 Qualification in Coaching

  + Ex-Academy player at Reading FC



Still pursuing a professional career in football De’juane shares his passion and enthusiasm for the game by developing young players through the Nigel James Academy.  He was signed as a scholar at Reading FC where he played as a striker and has since played for a number of non-league clubs such as Billericay, Wingate & Finchley and Harlow.


Since completing his FA Level 2 coaching qualification De’juane took up his first coaching position at the Nigel James Academy and through the expertise and close mentorship he receives from Nigel James is now a proficient mentor to young players.

Fiifi Assan

Academy Coach

Qualifications and positions:

  + FA level 2 in Coaching Football



The passion Fiifi shows for football is evident from his own love of the game at an early age.  As a footballer he played Left Back for Corinthian Casuals U18’s but stopped 2 years ago to pursue his career in coaching.   He already has experience of both coaching and managing an U14’s team and enjoys seeing players in the Nigel James Academy develop their technical skills as they become elite players.



Patrik Ruzicka

Academy Coach & Nutritionist

Qualifications and positions:

  + Ex-professional for SK Dynamo Ceske Budejovice (Czech 1 liga)

  + Academy scholar



Having been through the football academy system himself Patrik is fully aware of the dedication required and the pressure placed on young players to achieve this level of football.  At SK Dynamo Ceske Budejovice Patrik gained his scholarship, played for the U21’s and then gained his professional contract playing striker at a top-level Czech first league club.


In 2014 he moved to the UK and played for Kingstonian FC whilst also attending the Nigel James Academy as a scholar himself.  Throughout the last season Patrik has continued to play semi-professional football, scoring an impressive 27 goals in 29 matches, and has combined his love for playing the game with a career in coaching.


Having been coached and now mentored by Nigel, Patrik shares the Nigel James ethos for creating elite technical players who are confident and passionate about the game.


In addition to his footballing credentials Patrik has studied nutrition and hydration to a high level and combines this with his expertise as a personal trainer to support SAQ (Speed, Agility and Quickness) sessions for individual players.

Caroline Rudoni

Academy Administrator & Safeguarding Officer

Qualifications and positions:

  + BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies – 1st Class

  + Level 4 Safeguarding

  + FA Safeguarding Children

After many years working in a large London NHS teaching hospital, Caroline now holds the position of Medical Affairs Manager/ Lead Clinician for a private UK community Nursing Service.  With her expertise Caroline is able to support the academy with medical issues and take the lead on Safeguarding to help ensure the safety of all young players in the academy.


As the Nigel James academy continues to expand Caroline will work closely alongside Nigel to provide administrative support to the academy; thereby allowing Nigel to focus on football development for the players.





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