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 Grant McQuillan, a BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism student at UCFB Etihad Campus, about the highlights from his time at Corpus Christi FC where he worked for three months with a focus on media…

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

At Corpus Christi FC there was no designated role because we had a hand in every department. Although I specialised in media, the president of the club had is working on all fronts to help run the club, and that's why this experience is unrivaled to anything I have done before. In England, you would never get the chance to help run a football club, and I learned more than I did here than I would have elsewhere. Whether it be sales, media, marketing or business, I did it at Corpus Christi FC, and as a result, employers now look at this and see something students at other universities did not get - it was such a unique role!

How did the season go for the club?

Corpus Christi's season was amazing. We calculated a growth in media followings on Twitter to be over a 50% increase, which makes me incredibly proud. This is combined with the fact that the lads narrowly missed out on the playoffs, which just made my job easier! As a result of such a great season, the clubs following and sales increased, and because of us students going over to Texas, we have put the club in a great position to constantly progress. We established a great platform for the president to take into future seasons.

Tell us about the highlights of the placement for you.

There were so many highlights. It truly was the best summer I could have asked for, not just from a career standpoint, but life in general. Each week we would travel with the team across Texas so we could run the media and work as the club liaison. Because of this, we got to see places such as Houston, Austin, Dallas, and much more. We would see some spectacular places whilst we were working away with the team and it really was a dream to do this job and travel at the same time. Matchdays back in Corpus Christi were also special. You get such an incredible feeling when the team wins and you do a great job of ensuring the fans had a magnificent experience.

What skills have you been able to develop on the placement?

I've learned all sorts of skills. Before this experience, I had the pleasure of working for various clubs in England, and I even had a stint working in the Premier League for Huddersfield Town, but none of this whatsoever can compare to this experience, simply because I had such a unique and important role at Corpus Christi FC. As I was a journalism student, it was good for me to learn how a club and how fans work in other areas, such as business and marketing. So, I left with a strong understanding of all sorts of different areas of the industry to accommodate my journalism background and employers will be very intrigued by this, making me stand out in job applications.

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

In this industry, building a strong base of contacts means everything. It has always been my aim to live and work in the USA, so going over this year, it was my chance to make a name for myself, which I definitely did. I've managed to build a brilliant portfolio of work in the USA now, and as a result, in years to come, I can confidently say I see myself working for a club full-time, which would be a dream come true. All of this could not have happened if it wasn't for this chance. Thanks to this experience, I definitely see myself achieving my dream of working in the MLS.

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?

The partnership between the USL and UCFB is unrivaled. Things like this are exactly what you need for your CV and your own learning. As the USL is still growing and students are still learning, it makes for the perfect partnership. As the USL grows with the students' help, the students learn along the way. It's the perfect relationship, and I only hope my positive experience allows future students to get the same incredible experience I did.

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

Football is growing at an amazing rate in the USA. It is at the stage now where it is becoming one of the most popular sports, and although, of course, it will never get on the level of the NFL, NHL, MLB or the NBA, the sport has now reached a point where participation levels, fan engagement, audience levels and overall dedication to the sport is reaching that of most European countries. This is the reason I dreamed of living in the industry over in the USA, because it is growing so much, and to be a part of it was fantastic.