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 Dan Wiseman, a BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism student at UCFB Wembley, about the highlights from his time at Albion Hurricanes where he's been working alongside UCFB colleague Vinny Ray

Tell us about your role at Albion Hurricanes. What were your responsibilities and day to day routine?

Both Vinny Ray and I had a wide range of roles whilst with the Hurricanes. From club photographers to social media operators, commentators to stadium announcers, matchday admin to content producers, we did it all. It was fantastic, really. To have gained experience in so many different fields was one thing, but to have earned the necessary level of trust that is required when you’re presented with so many different tasks was very rewarding for me on a more personal level.

Tell us about Albion Hurricanes’ season. How has it gone and how has the club developed/grown over the season?

The AHFC Royals, the senior women’s and men’s teams had quite contrasting seasons. The women, competing in the WPSL, made the playoffs after a season in which they only lost one game, but for the USL2 men, it was a rollercoaster campaign that unfortunately only picked up momentum at a stage that was too late for them to progress to the post-season.

The club will have been delighted with the emergence of high-quality players from both sides however, especially those that have come through the vast academy that the Hurricanes possess. There is genuine talent there.

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

We were in Texas for Independence Day on 4th July, which was just perfect. It gave me my favourite memory from the entire trip - when the men’s side came back from 1-0 down away at local rivals Houston FC, on the 4th, with the winning goal (which actually won our Goal of the Season award) coming in the 86th minute.

Driving back on the Houston highways, the sky illuminated by the Independence Day fireworks, Bruce Springsteen on the radio - I don’t think it gets any more American than that. The celebrations afterwards were so, so good.

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

I genuinely wouldn’t know where to begin. It bettered skills which I already considered to be my strong points, such as match reporting and more traditionally journalistic measures, but also enhanced other more general areas, such as how to conduct yourself in meetings and how to engage with other clubs on a formal level. My commentary, photography, editing and the like developed through experience as well, of course.

Every day I could feel myself getting better and better at what I was doing, which is evident I think if you look at the content we have put out on all of the social channels. You can check it all out at @AHFCRoyals on any mainstream platform.

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

There is talk of both Vinny and I returning in a permanent capacity, so the opportunity may well directly benefit the both of us if the job materialises - which would be incredible. But if not, the experience I have gained, in such a unique culture, with a very sizeable soccer club will always prove to be invaluable.

I have met so many people, and learned so much along the way, that I can’t see how the internship won’t continue to benefit me for as long as I work in the sports industry.

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 a perfect introductory level for students like myself. The size of the clubs in the USL is perfect. They enable you to gain all of the experience that comes with working for a club in a sizeable league, which is only three divisions away from MLS, but at the same time, are run in a manner that allows you take up a role of genuine importance.

The smaller nature of the clubs helps you to see the immediate, and longer-term impact of the work that you do, which helps you to feel very valued.

But above all else, I think it’s most important to mention how fun and enjoyable the partnership can be. Away from the club, I had an unforgettable summer living in Houston, meeting some amazing people, doing some incredible things. That’s an aspect as important as any other, in my opinion.

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 will be very hard for soccer to outgrow those more established sports, but the ever-increasing interest in American soccer will certainly help it to compete. The prolonged success of the USWNT means the nation now has its own ‘legends’ to idolise and to draw from, in the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd. That’s very important, in my eyes.

Currently, we are also seeing the first generation of children in America who are growing up watching soccer as the primary sport in their household, which has never really happened before. There’s more investment, more coverage and as a result, more talent emerging, too. Hopefully, the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah can propel the men’s national side to the same successes that their female counterparts have seen in recent years.

With UCFB opening global hubs in New York, Atlanta, Toronto and Melbourne, and delivering Global Summits and exclusive networking opportunities in elite stadiums in these cities – what benefits do you think this will offer students and alumni? And what is exciting about this global expansion and offering?

Football is the global game. There can be no doubt of that. It’s easy to get caught up in the Premier League and the other major leagues around Europe and forget that the sport is now played in every corner of the world. Using America as the example, there has never been a better time to get into their soccer industry.

It is teetering on the edge of a popularity boom, and there is something very rewarding about introducing the sport I love, to a country that is finally starting to feel the same as I do. I would strongly advise anybody to take any opportunity that comes their way when it comes to working or studying abroad, especially if it is in tandem with UCFB.