A football fan her whole life, Laura D’Alessandro never gave it much thought as a career option. However, following her work at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, the GIS student – who’s studying the MSc Football Communications & Digital Marketing programme – saw the possibilities for her future career.

Here, she explains all…

What made you decide to study the Football Communications & Digital Marketing programme at GIS? 

Football has always been part of my life. My dad plays football and was also a coach and referee for many years. When we moved to the US, where soccer is a popular sport for women, he got me into it and allowed me to discover a sport where I could really fit in and see myself play in the future. For my Bachelor’s degree, I studied events and marketing, and while I wanted to do Master’s in marketing, I felt like something was missing. After my experience at FIFA, I didn’t see myself anywhere but in the sports industry. So I did some research and was happy to find a Master’s programme that really represented me as a person.

What is it about the football and sports industry that fascinates you? 

Until my experience at FIFA, I was more passionate about playing than the industry itself. I then got more and more interested in the way federations work together to make the sports world available for everyone. All of the different programmes and initiatives that they operate are a step towards reducing all the possible taboos about sports. They create relationships not only between players but also the fans. Celebrating the same team as someone else has something so rewarding to it that I cannot explain.

Are you excited about living and studying in the UK and away from home in France? 

I am! I actually moved countries a lot during my childhood, from France to the US, to Italy to Switzerland and I have now been in the UK for four years, studying my Bachelor’s degree. I’m excited to continue my studies in a big and vibrant city like Manchester and meet students who hold the same passion as me.

Tell us more about your job with FIFA at the Women’s World Cup in 2019. What did your role as Branding & Promotion Project Leader entail? 

I worked at the Local Organization Committee of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 for my placement year. I started off as an assistant, but soon after, I got promoted to a managerial position. My biggest roles were the CRM project and the print and online campaigns. Our job as an organisation in the women’s game was not only to promote the event but also to promote gender equality in football, which can be a very controversial topic for some. Overall, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was the most successful tournament in its history and it is undoubtedly the most rewarding experience I have ever had.

What do you think you’ll be able to bring to the programme from your experiences of working at the World Cup? 

Having my experience at FIFA will allow me to combine what I have learnt in the professional world with my academic knowledge. I have learnt so much about the world of football and the world of marketing that will help me in my studies, especially with my dissertation. As mentioned previously, my passion for football was only personal and casual before working in the industry. Now I look forward to sharing more about my industry knowledge and experience with both my lecturers and classmates.

What were your experiences of women’s football and its growth like at the event?

It seems as though the 2019 World Cup was a huge step forward for the women’s game; women’s football has definitely developed in the right direction since the event. Not only by reducing stereotypes like that women have no place in the sports world, but also by increasing female participation within the sport. We live in a world where women’s football is kept to the side; we did not expect this World Cup to be as successful as it was. The growth in interest was enormous, and as a result, organisations and federations will continue to help grow and promote the game to largest audience possible.

At the beginning of the placement, it was hard to generate a larger budget for my promotional campaigns. But as we got closer to the tournament, FIFA realised how big this was getting and my budget quickly grew three times greater. Hopefully the federations will continue to take advantage of the opportunities available to further develop the women’s game, as we want to get to a stage where boys and girls will fall in love with a sporting world with zero gender, race and social inequalities, or stereotypes.