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 Ellie Reynolds, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student at UCFB Etihad Campus, about the highlights from her time at Brazos Valley Cavalry in Texas where she worked for three months with the media team…

Tell us about your role at Brazos Valley. What were your responsibilities and day to day routine?

During my time at Brazos Valley Cavalry I had a range of different responsibilities each day, which was beneficial as this meant I got to develop myself in different job roles. Some of my roles included being in charge of the club's social media accounts, being in charge of the club's merchandise (designing, stock, selling), day to day operations and being a part of the media team.

Tell us about Brazos Valley’s season. How did it go? 

The Cavalry had a good season while I was over in Texas and we actually finished top of our conference. Unfortunately, we got knocked out of the playoffs, but I think to make it that far and finish our division undefeated was a great achievement. With the help of the UCFB students that travelled to Texas, the Cavalry became more popular in the clubs surrounding areas, which was evident from the increase in attendance at matches. The social media accounts of the Brazos Valley Cavalry have seen a big increase in my time over there also, which will hopefully benefit the club next season. 

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

My favourite day of the placement was definitely when the media team travelled down to Houston Dynamo’s/Dash’s training facility. As the Brazos Valley Cavalry were affiliates of Houston Dynamo (their players make up Dynamo’s under-23 team) it meant that the media team were able to spend the day at Houston Sports Park, in order to create content for the club. It was great to be able to network while I was down there, for example, I got the chance to talk to James Clarkson - Head Coach of Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League. To make the day even better, Mexico’s National Team came down to practise for their quarter-final match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, so I got to watch them play a private match against the Dynamo youth team. I also met some amazing people while I was over there, people who I worked with and the team's players, who all contributed to making the experience even more memorable and I hope we stay in touch. 

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

I think the partnership between UCFB and the USL is definitely one that is going to benefit many more students. I never thought I would get an opportunity to work in America! It is providing the opportunity to gain experience in the football industry, as well as to understand soccer in America first hand. It is great to be able to put an experience like this on your CV, and also is an amazing opportunity for personal development. I would definitely recommend UCFB students to apply next year. 

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 definitely is developing at a fast pace in the US. However, I believe it still has a lot further go. Although it is highly unlikely for the MLS to match the level of the NFL, NBA or MLB it is still clear to see the sport will begin to match football in other countries - in terms of participation, fans, etc.