Mike Leigh - Academy Scout USA, Oceania and Asia

Mike Leigh is originally from London, England but has been living in Western Australia since 1981.

A UEFA “A” licensed coach, Mike has been representing West Ham United as a talent scout for more than six years in Oceania, Asia and North America. His association with West Ham United dates back to 1997 when he coached at the Club’s Centre of Excellence in Western Australia.

Mike is a former Director of Coaching for Floreat Athena Soccer Club in Western Australia where he coached the Under 18 boys team. He also has national team coaching experience as the coach of the New Zealand Under 17 team that toured the USA and England in 1992. Mike is a former Western Australia state coach which allowed him to travel and coach teams in such places as Indonesia and Thailand.

Mike was invited to to attend the first senior level 4 coaching course at the Australia Institute of Sport in Canberra. He has been coaching and directing soccer camps in both Australia and the USA for more than 17 years.


Ian Bishop - International Academy Ambassador and Player Scout.

Former West Ham United captain Ian Bishop has joined the West Ham United International Academy as an ambassador and player scout. Between 1989 and 1998 Ian played over 300 first team games for West Ham United scoring 17 goals, helping the team get promoted to the English Premier League in 1993. He also played for Everton (where he started his career as a youth team player), Crewe Alexandra, Carlisle, Bournemouth, Rochdale and had two spells at Manchester City where he is best known for a scoring and starring role in a 5-1 victory over rivals Manchester United in 1989. In total he played over 700 first team games in the English Leagues and Cups scoring 42 goals as a central midfielder with the ability to pass the ball, much in the same way as many of the graduates of the West Ham United Academy.

Toward the end of Ian’s professional playing career he experienced life in Major League Soccer playing for the Miami Fusion in 2001, appearing in the Major League Soccer All Star game at the end of that season. He also played for the New Orleans Shell Shockers in the United Soccer Leagues in 2004. He now resides in South Florida where he operates his own independent soccer academy the Bishbosh Soccer Academy.


Shaka Hislop - International Academy Ambassador and Player Scout.

The West Ham United International Academy are delighted to announce former West Ham United Goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop, as an International Academy Ambassador.  He has agreed in principle (subject to his ESPN schedule) to coach our Goalkeepers at one of our National Camps in the summer.

In two spells at West Ham United between 1999-2002 and 2005-06, Hislop played over 150 times for the first team making his debut in a team that included Academy greats Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.  He was named player of the year at the club in 1999 when the team finished 5th in the English Premier League, it’s highest ever finish. His final game for West Ham was in arguably the greatest ever FA Cup Final against Liverpool in 2006.

Born in Hackney, East London, but grew up in Trinidad and Tobago Hislop earnt a scholarship to play at Howard University in the USA where he appeared in the NCAA championship game in his freshman year. After graduating from Howard he was offered his first contract in England with Reading FC and went onto to play nearly 400 games with Reading, Newcastle United, Portsmouth and of course West Ham. He ended his career in the MLS with FC Dallas. However prior to the move to Dallas he featured in Trinidad and Tobago’s one and only appearance in the World Cup in 2006, starting against Sweden and England in Germany.

Shaka is now a football analyst for ESPN International and features on their weekly show ESPNSoccernet Press Pass which is shown in the Caribbean and around the world.


George Cowie - Development Manager of Australia and New Zealand

The West Ham United International Academy are pleased to announce the appointment of George Cowie as Business Development Manager and International Academy Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand.  

George is no stranger to West Ham United having first signed as an apprentice at the club in 1977 and then as a professional in 1978. During his time, West Ham won the FA Cup in 1980 and were runners-up in the League Cup the following year, George being on the substitutes bench at Wembley Stadium in the 1980 FA Charity Shield. Due to these successes, first team opportunities were limited but George did play in several big games for the Hammers facing Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. In 1983 George returned to his native Scotland where he went on to make nearly 100 appearances for Hearts in the Scottish Premier League before injury cut short his career.

In more recent years, following relocation to Australia, George has remained involved in the game as a coach at various levels including, Technical Manager of Football Queensland, Interim Head Coach of the QAS, National Coach of Papua New Guinea Under 23 Olympic Team and National Coach of the Solomon Islands and Director of Coaching – Sunshine Coast Football. Voted “Queensland Coach of the Year” in 2008. 

George’s role will include overseeing the development of the West Ham United International Academy in both Australia and New Zealand, seeking partner clubs, providing training opportunities to players and coach education services to coaches.  For more information contact George at gcfootball@bigpond.com.

George is pictured here with former teammate and current Director of Football Development of the English Football Association, Sir Trevor Brooking.


Shaun Ramsden - Partnership Development Manager

Shaun also joined GIS in September 2012, to oversee the West Ham United International Academy partnerships in North America. A vastly experienced coach who has achieved both the USSF A License and NSCAA Premier Diploma coaching awards. Originally from England, Shaun has resided in the United States for over 14 years where he has experienced many facets of US youth soccer, including seven years as Director of Coaching of South Kendall Soccer Club in Miami, Florida. His experiences and knowledge provide a valuable resource to our West Ham United International Academy Partner Clubs.