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 Nathan Lucas, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Media student at UCFB Wembley, about the highlights from his time at Charlotte Eagles where he worked as Media Specialist for three months…

Tell us about your time at Charlotte Eagles. What was your role and routine at the club?

I was responsible for overseeing most of the media activity at the club. This ranged from re-designing their website in the first couple of weeks to planning social media posts when the season began and filming and editing promotional video content. My days usually consisted of working in the office from 9-2pm, editing footage or putting MailChimp campaigns together for the club to advertise their men’s and women’s teams, as well as the youth camps they were running during the summer. In the afternoons I would usually go to the men’s training to film or photograph the guy’s session, sometimes getting interviews to be used for further marketing.

How did the season go for the club?

The Eagles’ season was a mixed bag of results. Our women’s team finished their campaign unbeaten, won their conference playoffs and made it all the way to the regional playoff final where they lost 3-1 to the eventual winners of the national playoffs. The men’s team had a much slower start, picking up just two points from their first five matches. After suffering the biggest defeat of their USL division 7-2, they responded well, beating the team that was top of the league and going on to lose only one more match for the rest of the season to finish fourth. They scored in injury time in five of their last nine matches to claim three wins and two draws!

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

The best memories that I will take away from this opportunity was a lot of the quality time I got to spend with the community I lived in. I got to work very closely with the players so I have developed my network a lot more than just interacting with the staff. The players were all college students from various states and countries so it created a very diverse atmosphere within the club. In addition to the media responsibilities during the season, I was also able to coach at three different youth camps and travel with the team to three other states for away matches so I got to experience a variety of different aspects of the Charlotte Eagles as a soccer club.

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

My matchday role during our home matches was to commentate on our live streams that were viewed by up to 4,000 people at a time. This was something I didn’t have any experience of before at UCFB, but I became more comfortable on the microphone during each match and received a lot of positive feedback from families of the players as well as friends back home. Everything was about building on my communication skills. Not only the commentating but coordinating with other staff, planning media activities with the players and working as part of a team of interns. My editing skills have also increased a lot, being able to build on my video experience each week as well as learning about Photoshop from our other media intern and photographing some of our away matches.

How do you think the role can benefit your future career?

Networking is a big part of developing my career at this stage in life. Having lived in three continents already, I have a wide variety of international friends. After this experience, I now have a whole new community of football contacts and international experience, that will hopefully increase my potential of finding internships and employment in the future.

What makes the partnership between UCFB and the USL so unique?

The most frequently asked question when I was in North Carolina was how I’d heard about the Eagles. Naturally, I hadn’t heard of them before, until the USL partnership was promoted by my lecturers. It’s an incredible opportunity. Being from the UK, they valued my input a lot as I’ve grown up in a much bigger football culture, so being the only international intern meant that I could bring knowledge that others didn’t have.

Not only are you getting three months of practical involvement that’s relevant to the course you’re studying, but you’re also getting to experience living in a different culture which is a big possibility for anyone that wants to work in the sports industry. Especially for younger students that have come to UCFB straight from high school, this may be the first time they live abroad and it’s a chance that you don’t want to miss out on.

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

Soccer is starting to become a sport widely played by men now as well as women. The stereotype seems to be that it was a women’s game, but as the MLS continues to grow and Americans have coverage of more Premier League games than we do here in the UK, it is becoming more popular. I think that it is English football that gets their attention the most, especially with a lot of big clubs doing pre-season tours in the US. However, I think that with the amount of money and tradition surrounding their other big sports, the NBA, NFL and MLB will continue to be a much bigger draw for sports fans in America.