Catawba Senior Scores Internship with MLS Franchise
September 4, 2020
by Emma White '21
The COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed down a lot of people, but one person it did not slow down was, Finley Carroll. While most people spent the summer of 2020 in quarantine catching up on Netflix, Finley decided to take it upon himself to contact multiple people from different teams in the MLS (Major League Soccer).
Finley is currently a senior at Catawba College double majoring in Sport Management and Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, and a minor in Economics. Finley came to Catawba from his hometown of Manchester, England. Finley says that when he graduated high school in Manchester at 16, he had no idea what he wanted to do. Who does at 16? Therefore, he took a gap year waiting tables and saving up money in hopes to go to college. Finley heard about someone who got a scholarship to play collegiate soccer in America. And he said to himself, "if they can do it, so can I."
Finley's love for soccer started when he was six years old when he got to be the mascot (walked out with the team) for his local soccer team and being a season ticket holder for the Manchester City Soccer Club.
Originally, in the Summer of 2020 Finley was supposed to work as a sales/marketing intern for Stumptown Athletic, an American professional soccer team that plays in the National Independent Soccer Association based out of Matthews, North Carolina. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic this internship was canceled for over the summer and moved to the Fall of 2020, in which Finley is currently working. However, Finley wanted something to do and put on his resume over the summer.
Finley's idea to contact every team in the MLS started when Dr. Aagaard, Professor of Sport Management reached out to his students about different webinars to participate in to gain internship hours if needed. Finley started attending every webinar that he could. While attending the webinars, Finley said that he got motivated to gain more networks and build his resume.
Finley then decided to contact as many people in the MLS as possible completing 43 total interviews from 24 teams.
Every Sport Management student is required to do a 250-hour internship. Finley completed that required amount and more over the summer through webinars and his interviews with various people with the MLS. As if all of this isn't impressive enough, Finley says that he doesn't plan to count these summer hours towards his internship. He says, "I did this off my own back." He plans to use his current internship with Stumptown Athletic for his sport management internship. Dr. Aagaard said this about Finley's persevering hard work:
"I love the grit that Finley showed this summer in creating a valuable experience that included both professional development and expanding his network. I look forward to telling his story for years to come with our undergraduates as he proved, even with the sport industry closed, there are ample opportunities to grow as a future sport leader."
When Finley was asked if he would have done any of this without Catawba and the leadership of Dr. Aagaard his immediate reply was, "definitely not."
Finley hopes to be working in sponsorships/partnerships or sales in sports, primarily with the MLS when graduating in May. For Finley, relocation is not an issue as long as he's doing what he loves. Finley is a prime example of how important it is to reach out to people and build your network while in college so that when graduation comes, you have people calling you. When Finley was asked if COVID-19 helped him he said, "I just looked at it as an opportunity, not a negative."
The hours of engagement and networking have paid off as Finley was recently offered an internship with D.C. United, he will be working under Ana Lobaton, the Account Executives for Member Sales & Services and Tristian Atterbury Account Executive Group Events & Hospitality. He shared his excitement, "I'm absolutely delighted to get started in professional soccer as my career goals are gain full time employment with an MLS franchise."
Emma White is a Catawba College senior double majoring in Sport Management and Communications.