Each July, the National Sports Center pulls off the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere: Schwan’s USA CUP. This year’s tournament welcomed 1,168 teams from 15 different countries and 17 different states. An event this huge requires an all hands on deck approach from full time staff members, as well as bringing in a group of 12 interns for the summer to make this worldwide tournament happen.
The intern class of 2017 served a vital function in putting the tournament together from three key departments: field sports services, campus operations and media. No matter the function they served, each individual walked away with valuable experience and the pride of being directly involved with such a huge event like USA CUP.
“We pulled off the biggest tournament in the Western Hemisphere. That’s just a pretty cool thing to be able to say,” Logan Halvorson, USA CUP activities and registration intern, said. “It was such a good internship because they literally throw you in there, and you have direct relations with everything that goes on in the tournament.”
Front row (left to right): Mitch Stai, Chelsea Cheung, ErinRose Carr, Logan Halvorson, Kailey Ekstrom, Mary Brickner. Back row (left to right): Dylan Curfman, Patrick Malin, Tess Virden, Brooke Fisher, Ian Ecklund, John Vang.
While it may have seemed daunting as they sat at their desks in May with a full to-do list, now that they are on the other side of things, seeing it all come together made it all worth it.
“Now that it’s over, it’s kind of bittersweet,” Halvorson said. “Overall, I’m just really glad that I had the opportunity to be here and do this.”
The campus operations and logistics team were often the first to arrive and the last to leave on tournament days and are in charge of everything that goes on behind the scenes.
“There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than a person might think,” Mitch Stai, operations and logistics intern, said. “You have to work close with every department and try to understand the vision in their head.”
The hard work and long hours were more than worth it for Stai.
“I got to meet a lot of interesting people,” he said. “That was fun. I learned a lot more about what goes into sporting events.”
From the media perspective, the five interns didn’t have a direct hand on the tournament operations, but they worked through video, text, graphic design and social media to give customers the best experience possible.
“Churning out a video every day of USA CUP takes a good chunk of time,” video production intern Dylan Curfman said. “But even if you’re not a sports person, it’s still valuable because you’re getting an actual hands-on experience in your field.”
The team is going to walk away with a full portfolio and a lifetime of experiences that they can take into the workforce.
“You’re treated like a full time employee. I got a real taste of true working life that you don’t get in the classroom,” Curfman said. “We really have a lot of options open to us as far as what we get to do, which is pretty impressive compared to some other internships I’ve heard about.”
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from all departments was the genuine connections and lifelong friendships that come from working toward one common goal for 10 weeks. From long days preparing in the office to field managing at smaller tournaments all the way up to the 14 hour days of USA CUP, the intern class of 2017 became one big work family by the end of July.
“I think number one is all the connections I’ve made with the other interns and the staff here and the international people,” Halvorson said. “I’ll hopefully have these connections for the rest of my life.”
“I just really enjoyed how we all connected as interns so well and the community we built,” Curfman added. “It’s bittersweet now that it’s coming to an end.”
Tag(s): NSC Blog