New Soccer Management track offered to students in Sport Management Program

Dec. 7, 2015

Audrey Jensen
ajensen4@uccs.edu

It’s the first Soccer Management track to be offered to students in the U.S.

This fall, as a part of the Sport Management Program in the College of Business, the Soccer Management track accepted 13 students for its first year.

Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak and president of the Colorado Rapids, Tim Hinchey, signed a 10-year contract, which gives students the opportunity to gain experience through a professional practicum with the Colorado Rapids.

According to the director of the Sport and Soccer Management Program, Eric Olson, out of the 100 students who applied for the Sport Management Program, half were interested in the soccer track.

“This is the first year we’ve offered it, since we didn’t get the contract signed until March, we’re behind the ball in getting to talk to high school students last year, by March students made their decisions.”

Through this track, students receive opportunities to work with the organizations such as the Air Force Academy, Armed Sports, Collegiate Sports, the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NFL and the Olympic Training Center.

According to Olson, students who take the soccer track will take all of the basic required classes for sport management. In their freshmen and sophomore year, they will spend up to 100 hours working with local club soccer such as Pride Soccer and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Once students are in their junior and senior year, they have a practicum with the Colorado Rapids.

Olson added that soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. among men and women ages 14 to 24.

“Soccer is now the second most watched sport after the NFL,” Olson said. “That age graphic watches more soccer than baseball, basketball and hockey.”

Although soccer is only one-fourth of the Sports Management Program, where 86 students are accepted, only up to 23 students will be accepted in the Soccer Management track per year.

When students in the Soccer Management Program reach their senior year, Olson said they hope to send the seniors to internships overseas.

“They get experience in working with the biggest soccer clubs in the world. Imagine an English kid coming here and interning with the Denver Broncos,” Olson said.

This is the sixth year the Sport Management Program has sent students to Sunderland Association Football Club in England, and the fifth year students have been sent to Everton Football Club in Liverpool.

“We met with a dozen other clubs to start building additional relationships with future students,” Olson said.

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