SMBA ’15 recently had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and participate in several aspects of the preparation and in-game operations at a major international event. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team hosted China in a FIFA-sanctioned friendly at Qualcomm Stadium last Thursday. Members of the cohort assisted with setting up the locker rooms, assisting in the media press box, taking surveys and carrying injured players off the field on stretchers. The stretcher crew even earned some TV-time on NBC Sports Network when a Chinese player needed to be carried off near the end of the game.
While working and learning about big-event operations, members of the class had the chance to rub shoulders with some of the greatest athletes in the world. Even Kobe Bryant was on the sidelines before the game taking photos with youth soccer teams.
Students working at the game arrived up to 3.5 hours prior to kick-off to assist with a number of tasks to ensure everything ran smoothly at the event. Both team’s benches were set up with Gatorade, water, ice, and towels, as well as medical and training equipment which needed to be transported from trucks to the team’s locker rooms and benches.
A group of students also helped U.S. Soccer obtain survey data from fans. The survey contained market research information that will help the team gather information about their fans’ demographics and level of passion for U.S. Women’s Soccer.
Prior the national anthem and team introductions, a group of students quickly ran a large, heavy tarp with the team’s logo to the center circle. After a brief struggle, the tarp was successfully placed, and then quickly removed just before kick-off.
Once kickoff started, Carly Lloyd, of the United States, scored two goals just three minutes apart, including a 25-yard strike into the upper corner of the net. The United States went on to win 3-0, extending its unbeaten streak at home to 82 games. The match was part of a long series of friendlies and qualifiers building toward next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
After the game members of the class helped load equipment back onto the bus, which is all headed back to team headquarters in Chicago. Others also helped take down signage for sponsors of U.S. Soccer.
Members of the cohort that had the opportunity to support the United States Women’s National team would like to thank Jessica Covino of U.S Soccer for reaching out to SMBA ’15 for the opportunity to volunteer at the game.