Over the summer, UCFB students have been gaining valuable work experience at football clubs across the US as part of a multi-year partnership with the USL, working in a range of areas including marketing, media, coaching and events.

We spoke with AJ Chatfield, a student at UCFB Wembley, about the highlights from his time at Wake FC where he worked for three months as an intern covering a wide range of roles and responsibilities…

Tell us about your role at Wake FC. What were your responsibilities and day to day routine?

Wake were going through their first-ever season as a USL team so their staff for the Men and Women’s teams were bare. This meant that I would be doing a bit of everything at the club from helping set up training to managing a team of interns on game days.

Day-to-day, I was helping with training in the morning, checking and updating social media during and after training, writing articles, and then helping with Women’s training in the evening.

Tell us about Wake FC’s season. How has it gone and how has the club developed/grown over the season?

Wake started the season off very well, but they ended up finishing bottom of the table due to a very bad period in the middle and end of the season. The club has developed a lot due to it never experiencing this before. Everything for them was a learning curve and it must have been a huge help having us there, as we brought experience and know-how in a lot of roles where the club was lacking.

What were the highlights and most memorable things about the placement?

It’s cliché but the people were by far the best bit, everyone was welcoming, and you got to know everyone at the club from the owners to the operations team. Being a part of a club with people you get along with lets you develop yourself while helping the club achieve their main goal with no real issues. They all understood why I was there and did everything they could to help me achieve what I needed to do.

What skills have you been able to develop and enhance in the role?

The main skills I was able to develop were my leadership qualities, managing a team of interns that you’ve never met before is something that takes a lot of patience but once you know each other it enables you to really take control of situations and develop your skills further.

How do you think the role can benefit your future career? Has it been valuable for networking and building contacts for example?

The role is going to help a lot when an employer looks at my CV now and sees that I was in America helping a club start their U23s side, it will look great. Not only will it entice questions from the employer, but it shows maturity and competence in your field.

Everyone at the club wants to make it to the MLS, making contacts out there has been vital as your wanting to stand out to them. If they ever get to the MLS or a big club elsewhere, you want to be the person they remember for a certain role. This can land job opportunities and create great references for your CV in the future.

What do you make of the partnership between UCFB and the USL? How is it unique and special, and what does it offer to students?

It’s something unique and helps students develop skills in the industry. One of the biggest and best parts of the partnership is the fact that when you’re out there, people at the club are relying on you to produce the content or to do your job to the highest level. It offers students the chance to be independent and responsible for a big role in the club.

How is soccer developing and growing in the US? Can it ever compete with the well-established traditional sports like NFL, basketball and baseball?

It’s developing well, there are a lot of kids involved in football youth camps. I don’t think it will compete with the NFL or NBA as those sports have huge franchises with a lot of money supporting it. Not only that, those sports are huge and won’t be caught up to anytime soon.