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i2i Staff Profiles

Meet the Team

Darren Williams posing for the camera

Williams began his career at York City, but made his name at Sunderland in the English Premier League for whom he signed in 1996. Darren made more than 250 appearances for Sunderland and played in over 100 Premier League games for his club. 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.


To see Darren's full profile, please click here.


a person posing for the camera

Phil is an ex professional goalkeeper who featured for Sunderland, Exeter City, Scarborough Athletic and Whitley Bay. During his time at Sunderland. Phil, a UEFA B license coach, is also the current Head of Goalkeeping at Northern Premier Division side South Shields looking after the first-team and the academy.


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).


For Paul's full profile, please see here. 

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.


For Nicky's full profile, please see here.

Headshot of Stuart Brightwell

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.


Close up headshot of Chris Fariless

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.



Close up headshot of lead coach Jono Greening

Jono enjoyed a highly successful professional career as a football player, which included a three year spell at Manchester United. Jono was part of Manchester United’s 1998-1999 famous treble winning side which won the Champions League, the Premier League and the FA Cup. He went on to win the League Cup with Middlesbrough before signing for West Bromwich Albion for £1.25m where he captained the side to the Championship title.

In 2009, Jono signed for Fulham and helped them to reach the 2010 UEFA Europa League Final – winning PFA Team of the Year. Jono is a deep lying midfielder who scored 17 goals throughout his career, as well as three for England’s U21 side.

He is a UEFA A Licensed Coach who has coached at Nottingham Forest and York

City. He acts as a mentor for students on our pro-level coaching programme.


Close of picture of 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.



Close up picture of Micheal 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.


Close up picture of 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.

Close up picture of 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.


Close up picture of Danny Wiltshire (Recruiter)

Danny is a Sports Recruiter at the i2i International Soccer Academy who is 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.


A man with dark hair, trimmed beard and moustache, wearing a navy top and lanyard

Chris has worked at Northumbria University for 8 years and has always been involved with sports teams, performance athletes and international recruitment with a focus on North America.

Overseeing the i2i programme on campus at Northumbria, Chris liaises with timetabling, accommodation, academic programme leaders as well as other stake holders.

Chris is here to help you through the whole process from the application to arrival on campus. Chris is more than happy to set up zoom meetings or WhatsApp calls with regards to any questions you or your family have about Life at Northumbria including; accommodation, academic programmes and much much more, so get in touch to discuss any questions you may have.


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