(From left to right) Jamie Chandler (Director of Football), Rhys Evans (Head of Football), and Yannick Aziakonou (Football Coach)

Rhys Evans - 

Head of Football

Rhys started his footballing journey like many in the North East, at Wallsend Boys Club. He spent his full grassroots career there before signing scholarship terms with Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone. He spent 2 years there before signing professional terms with Queen of the South. This is where his coaching career started working within the QOSFC foundation. 

After 18 months at QOS Rhys moved home and signed for Newcastle Benfield in the Northern league. After impressing there, Rhys earned a move to National League North Side Blyth Spartans where he is now in his 4th year with the club. Rhys has racked up nearly 100 appearances for the club in the 6th tier of English football. 

Alongside playing football, Rhys was continuing his coaching journey, applying his trade at Kingsmeadow Football Academy, which was run by Evolution Football Coaching. He is now our Head of Football and he is determined to develop our students as players as well as people. He drives our standards of values and has a real desire to create an environment where our players can feel safe, learn and have fun. 

Yannick Aziakonou - 

Football Coach

Yannick is a former product of Newcastle United Academy; an ex-professional who progressed through the ranks from an early age. Yannick is an aspiring and bright young coach here at the Football Academy and is dedicated to making an impact on the young players and their futures. 

In summer 2015, Yannick received a 2 year scholarship with Newcastle United in which he excelled and was able to combine football with education becoming an FA licensed coach. In 2017, following his scholarship period in which Yannick showed enthusiasm, hard work and dedication, he was rewarded with a professional contract.

He has represented his country at U21 level and gained valuable skills and experiences during his time with Newcastle United. Now, still involved in the set up at Newcastle United as a pre-academy coach, Yannick is massively focused on development on and off the field. His coaching philosophy is to ‘create a positive, constantly demanding, yet enjoyable environment that encourages young players to express themselves whilst learning vital life skills’. 

Yannick currently plays as a semi-professional in the EBAC Northern League for Ashington AFC and is also involved with grassroots team, Wideopen Juniors.

An exciting, bright, young coach who has been with the Academy for just a year, Yannick will look to continue the hard work he has already started by further making positive impacts with the players.

Jamie Chandler

Director of Football (TCAT)

Jamie is an ex-professional footballer who now combines coaching here at the Academy with his semi-professional playing career at Spennymoor Town. A current UEFA ‘A’ License candidate Jamie is a very ambitious and dedicated coach with a real passion for developing players.

Jamie began his playing career at the age of 6 which saw him attend Newcastle United’s academy before making the decision to join Sunderland aged 9. A decision he did not regret. Jamie went on to receive a Scholarship aged 16 before signing a 3-year pro contract under Roy Keane. During his time, he represented England winning 35 caps at various age levels. After his time at Sunderland, Jamie then signed for football league side Darlington FC where he went on to make 170 appearance’s which included a special day at Wembley where he was named man of the match in a 1-0 victory over Mansfield in the FA Trophy. After a two-year spell, Jamie was then signed by Gateshead FC where he spent 5 years of his career. He went on to win player of the season awards before being part of the Gateshead side that was narrowly beaten in the play-off final at Wembley against Cambridge United. Jamie is now into his fourth year at National League North Spennymoor Town where he has racked up nearly 150 appearances and is an integral part of their team. Jamie then made the decision to join Martin on the Foundation of Lights successful Scholarship programme which saw him be part of three National cup wins and play a part in the pathways for a number of players who have gone into the professional and semi-professional game.

Jamie has been of key importance in establishing and maintaining the success of the Football programme at Monkwearmouth Academy (one of our Trust secondary schools). His drive, determination and successes have seen him be promoted to Director of Football for our Academy Trust and have allowed Walker Riverside Academy's ever-flourishing squad to benefit from his experience. 

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