This summer, the ground-breaking partnership between USL League Two and UCFB saw 16 students from University Campus of Football Business gain work experience and offer valuable assistance to USL League Two clubs. UCFB serves as the official education partner of League Two and with three campuses in England at Wembley Stadium, Etihad Stadium and Burnley FC, UCFB aims to provide a top-notch education to students seeking a career in professional soccer, whether it be in media, marketing, finance or another area of the sporting industry’s front office side. USL League Two and UCFB will begin 2020 planning and student placement over the next month in hopes of replicating the partnership's successful first year.
“Not only will this bring huge added benefits to a student’s CV, but we are confident that UCFB’s talented students can make a highly valuable contribution to the club they are working with,” said UCFB’s Head of Employability & Enrichment Neil Silver on the partnership with League Two when it was announced in April. “We are very excited to be working with the USL and we look forward to this partnership blossoming.”
Silver’s predictions came true over the course of the League Two season. The 16 students placed with League Two clubs proved to be of tremendous help, highly-qualified and knowledgeable about soccer. Grant McQuillan, who is working toward a degree in multimedia sports journalism at UCFB Etihad Campus, spent the summer with Corpus Christi FC focusing on media.
“The partnership between the USL and UCFB is unrivaled. Things like this are exactly what you need for your CV and your own learning,” said McQuillan. “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.”
Like McQuillan, many of the UCFB placements helped improve their teams social and digital performance. Ethan James from UCFB’s Etihad Campus was given plenty of personal responsibility, and oversaw the growth of the Cincinnati Dutch Lions’ follower base.
“We increased the number of followers on all social media platforms quite significantly, including a 221% increase (over 12,000 overall viewers) from last season of the people watching our home matches on Facebook Live,” said James. “Numbers such as this – I’d like to think – are partly responsible for the 28% attendance increase from last season.”
On top of being beneficial to League Two clubs, the partnership helps further the professional and personal development of UCFB students through exposing them to a different work culture and involving them in the community. Nathan Lucas, a student at UCFB Wembley, highlighted the diversity of his experiences during his time with Charlotte Eagles.
“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,” said Lucas. “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.”
As the partnership between League Two and UCFB enters its second year, the potential for more clubs and more students to work together will provide additional opportunities for both.