Right to Dream Academy

Founded in 1999, Right to Dream is an African football academy.[1]

Right to Dream
FounderTom Vernon
TypeEducational Sports Charity
Registration no.1108821
Area served
ProductSports, education and leadership academy in Ghana
OwnerTom Vernon
c. 80

Starting on a small scale, training just a few boys on a dust pitch in Accra, the Academy has evolved over the last 16 years[2] to become a fully residential, centre of excellence, with over 90 students on scholarship from 7 African countries, at a purpose-built campus on the banks of the River Volta.[3]


Right to Dream Academy in Ghana was founded in 1999 by British social entrepreneur, Tom Vernon to provide children from extreme poverty with the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families.[4] It started on a small-scale, training just a few boys on a dust pitch in Accra.[5] It has grown to become a fully residential international school, offering scholarships to talented children drawn from all over West Africa. It is currently ranked as one of the best youth academies in the world by bleacherreport.com.[6] In March 2010, the new Right to Dream Academy was opened, a $2.5million purpose-built facility, located 20 km south of Akosombo in the Eastern Region of Ghana.[7][8] A girls’ programme was introduced in 2013.[9] In 2014, Right to Dream Academy launched the first Right to Dream school programme in Takoradi.[10][11]


Since 2007, Right to Dream has produced over 20 graduates playing professional football in Europe. Some Right to Dream graduates have also received call ups into Ghana’s National teams, from the Black Starlets(U17) to the Black Stars.[12][13] Right to Dream has over 30 graduates studying at High Schools and Universities in the USA and UK.[14] In all, Right to Dream has helped to develop over 160 talented, young footballers – through a combination of football, education and character development.

In May 2013, Right to Dream opened the first residential girls’ football academy in Africa.[15] In April 2014, Right to Dream student Fuseina Mumuni, was a member of the Ghana U-17 team at the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup held in Costa Rica.[16]

Right to Dream squads travel to Europe regularly to compete in tournaments against the very best youth teams in the world.[17]

Since 2008, Right to Dream has had the most successful African U-15 team. In 2015, Right to Dream U18 and U15 were unbeaten for a combined total of 42 matches on their European Tours.[18][19]

Marveld Tournament

Right to Dream U15s won the 26th edition of the Marveld Tournament in the Netherlands[20]

TopC-RKMSV tournament

The U15 team of Right to Dream Academy won the 2015 TopC-RKMSV tournament in the Netherlands.[21][22]

Gothia Cup

The Academy participated in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Gothia Cup, placing third in 2013 and winning in 2014.[23] In 2015, Right to Dream returned to the Gothia Cup and successfully defended their title, making the Academy the first team to win the Gothia Tipselit Trophy in two successive years.[24]

Manchester United Premier Cup

The Academy has won the African championship and thus retained the right to represent Africa each year since the 2008 edition.[25] Right to Dream has achieved five top-eight finishes in the World Finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup, playing the best football teams from Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid.[26][27] It placed a best of 3rd in 2009,[28] and in 2014, the Academy placed 4th.[29] In 2015, Right to Dream won the Manchester United Premier Cup world finals for the first time in their history.[30][31]

2010 MTG Peace Ambassadors

In 2010, Right To Dream were named Peace Ambassadors and have been invited to participate in a tournament during that year's Nobel Peace Prize Weekend.[32]


Right to Dream Academy

Scholarships are granted to young talented Africans by Right to Dream to study at the purpose-built Academy, located on the banks of the Volta River.[33] Students are taken through football, education and character development.



Right to Dream’s International School is an accredited centre for the Cambridge International Examination.[34] The Academy also offers a combination of local and international curriculums.


Right to Dream Girls' Programme

Right to Dream has established Africa’s first residential Football Programme for girls, based on the Academy’s talent development model for boys. 16 West African girls have been enrolled on scholarships at Right to Dream.[35] The Academy expects that female graduates will secure student-athlete scholarships at leading private schools, colleges and universities in the USA, while some will pursue professional careers in football in Europe.[36]


Right to Dream manages the most rigorous talent identification process in West Africa. Every two years, 15–20 students are selected out of 30,000 trialists to study and train at the Academy on 100% scholarships.[37]

Right to Dream Schools Programme

The first Right to Dream School opened in Takoradi in September 2015.[38] The school’s programme is a partnership between Right to Dream and a leading private school in each identified location.[39]

Right to Dream USA

Right to Dream USA is registered as a 501(c)(3) organisation in the United States and is overseen by Chairman John Powers and a Board of Directors.

Right to Dream partner schools in the U.S. include:[40]

Sustainability and Partnership

Partners include:

• Tullow Oil Ghana-Headline Sponsor[41][42]
• Mantrac Ghana[43][44]
• Ashoka[45]
• Laureus Sport For Good Foundation [46]

Staff and management

Right to Dream Academy has approximately 60 Ghanaian and international staff members working across the following departments: Football and Recruitment, Education, Pastoral, Development, Accounts and Facilities.

Notable Alumni

Abu Danladi - Attended the Dunn Schooll on an academic scholarship. Won Gatorade Player of the Year award in 2013-2014. He played college soccer for the UCLA Bruins. First overall draft pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by the Minnesota United. Currently plays forward for the Minnesota United.

Francis Atuahene - Attended the Hotchkiss School on an academy scholarship, going on to star for the University of Michigan Men's Soccer Team. Atuahene left Michigan after his junior year, signing a Generation Adidas scholarship and going on to be the fourth overall selection in the 2018 MLS Super Draft and signing with FC Dallas.

Edward Opoku - plays for the Columbus Crew, attend Millbrook School and UVA. [47]

Umar Farouk Osman - Right to Dream graduate who attended the Hotchkiss School on an academy scholarship. Osman would go on to win the Gatorade Boy's Soccer National Player of the Year award, and currently plays for the University of Michigan Men's Soccer Team.

Michael Tetteh - Former Seattle Sounders FC defensive soccer player.

Fifi Baiden - Former Columbus Crew soccer player.

King Osei Gyan - Former professional soccer player. Played for Germinal Beerschot, Viking FK and Halmstads BK.

Emmanueal Boateng - Current D.C. United player.


  1. Kwaw, Erasmus (2014). "Right to Dream U14s on European tour". goal.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  2. Okine, Sammy Heywood (March 28, 2014). "Right to Dream to outdoor Mantrac Center on Friday". ghanaweb.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  3. Idealist.org (2013). "Right to Dream Academy". Idealist.org. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  4. Ghanasoccernet (4 November 2011). "Q&A With Right To Dream Founder And Ceo Tom Vernon". Peacefmonline.com Sport. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  5. Right to Dream (2015). "About Us". Right to Dream. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  6. Christopher, Atkins (16 December 2013). "Ranking the best youth academies in world football". Bleacherreport.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  7. Modernghana (29 March 2010). "Right to Dream Inaugurates New Site". Modernghana.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  8. Myjoyonline (14 July 2011). "Mahama Ayariga Pays Working Visit to Right to Dream Academy". Myjoyonline.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  9. Ghanabusinessnews (24 April 2013). "Right to Dream To Establish First Girls Football Academy in Africa". Ghanabusinessnews.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  10. Modernghana (2014). "Tullow Oil, Right to Dream Launch School Programme in Takoradi". Modernghana.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  11. Right to Dream (2014). "Right to Dream Launch RTD School Programme in Takoradi". Right to Dream. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  12. Ghanasoccernet (July 5, 2014). "28 players named for final African Youth Championship qualifier". ghanaweb.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  13. Metrofmonline (June 3, 2015). "AFCON qualifiers: Avram Grant names 23 man squad for Mauritius clash". metrofmonline.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  14. Gyimah, Edmund Okai (December 18, 2013). "It will be weird to play for England again, says, Ghana's Boakye". goal.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  15. Kwaw, Erasmus (April 4, 2014). "I'm MoreExperienced Now, says RtDs Fuseina Mumuni". goal.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  16. Kwaw, Erasmus (March 2, 2014). "Dream come true: Meet Black Maiden's Fuseina Mumuni". goal.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  17. Kwaw, Erasmus (2014). "Right to Dream U14s on European tour". goal.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  18. Atsu, Christian (2015). "Right to Dream U15 with Christian Atsu". Christian Atsu. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  19. Ghanasoccernet (2015). "Ghana Winger, Christian Atsu in personal praise of Right to Dream U15 Team". ghanasoccernet.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  20. Marveld (May 31, 2015). "Right to Dream Ghana winner of the 26th Marveld tournament". marveld.info. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  21. Ghanasportsonline (25 May 2015). "Ghana's Right to Dream Academy wins 2015 TopC-RKMSV U15 Championships in Netherlands". Ghanasportsonline.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  22. TopC-RKMSV (May 25, 2015). "Champions 2015: Right to Dream from Ghana". topc-rkmsv.nl. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  23. Goal (21 July 2014). "Ghana's Right to Dream Wins Gothia Cup 2014". Goal.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  24. Gara, Johanna (July 18, 2015). "Mission accomplished for Right to Dream". Gothiacup.com. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  25. Afrikan Soccer (August 2008). "African under 15 champs Right to Dream Academy drawn alongside Werder Bremen in MUPC". Afrikansoccer.com. Retrieved June 2009. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  26. Premier Cup Africa (2009). "Premier Cup ´09 Africa Qualifications". premiercup.com. Retrieved June 2009. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  27. Xorlali, Affi (March 27, 2014). "Successful team with 4 top 8 finishes". sportscrusader.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  28. Manchester United Premier Cup (August 8, 2014). "Quarter finalists: Right to Dream Academy". Manchesterunitedpremiercup.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  29. Dornu-Lieku, Prince (August 11, 2014). "Manchester United Premier Cup-Right to Dream take pride in 4th place finish". allsports.com.gh. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  30. Marshall, Adam (July 23, 2015). "Right to Dream win MU Premier Cup". manutd.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  31. Marshall, Adam (July 23, 2015). "Right to Dream Crowned MUPC 2015 World Champions". manchesterunitedpremiercup.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  32. Modernghana (2010). "Right to Dream Academy- 2010 MTG Peace Ambassadors". modernghana.com. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  33. Modernghana (December 18, 2014). "Tullow Partners with Right to Dream to Launch Juvenile school". modernghana.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  34. Amadu, Umaru Sanda (March 21, 2015). "Grooming Ghana's Future Black Stars". newstimeafrica.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  35. Kwaw, Erasmus (June 4, 2013). "Right to Dream launches Africa's first Girls' Football Academy". goal.com. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  36. Viasat1 (April 19, 2013). "Kotoko coach lauds Right to Dream for new Girls Academy". viasat1.com. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  37. Sackitey, Gideon Asare (July 29, 2010). "Vodafone and Right to Dream Academy Begin Recruitment". ghanaweb.com. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  38. Modernghana (2014). "Tullow Oil, Right to Dream Launch School Programme in Takoradi". Modernghana.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  39. Right to Dream (2014). "Right to Dream Launch RTD School Programme in Takoradi". Right to Dream. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  40. Myjoyonline (August 17, 2011). "Right to Dream partners Vodafone to give scholarships". myjoyonline.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  41. Right to Dream (19 March 2014). "Tullow Ghana Ltd. partners with RtD". Right to Dream. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  42. Myjoyonline (March 30, 2015). "Right to Dream and Tullow oil mark a year of success on and off the pitch". Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  43. Mensah, Kent (March 31, 2014). "Mantrac Ghana builds Pristine pitches for Right to Dream". goal.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  44. Zurek, Kweku (March 31, 2014). "Right to Dream opens Mantrac Centre". graphic.com.gh. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  45. Ashoka Africa (2014). "Right to Dream Academy (RtD)". Ashoka.org. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  46. Laureus (2012). "Right to Dream". laureus.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  47. "Edward Opoku '15 Signs with MLS". millbrook.org. 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
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