Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

Inside the World of Sports: A Summer Internship Experience

College of Liberal Arts Staff

The world of sports is fast and ever-evolving. From the grassroots and youth levels to the elite world of professional teams, players, coaches and those working behind the scenes confront many challenges on the long road to success. Given the excitement, it is no surprise that college graduates are eager to break into the professional sports industry. This past summer, Rebecca McDermott, C’20, a former Mount communication and history major and current graduate student in the sport management program, got a taste of this world when she interned with the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. She described the experience as “extremely rewarding and exciting.”

mcdermott-philly-union.pngMcDermott, who serves as graduate assistant for the College of the Liberal Arts, has been determined to break into the sports industry since her sophomore year.  “I became interested in working in sports when I started to write for the sports section of The Mountain Echo,” she offered, “and then became sports editor my senior year.”  She was thrilled to learn about the opportunity to work with the Union. 

Passionate about soccer from a young age, McDermott first learned the sport playing after school in County Cavan, Ireland.  When her family moved to the New Jersey shore, she played on middle-school and club teams, and then for Ocean City High School.  But she credits her training at the Mount as the best preparation for her internship with the Union.  “With the communication major, I always felt as if my professors were keen on making sure students were prepared for the professional world,” she stated.  “From building our interpersonal skills to teaching us how to react in a crisis, the faculty developed the soft skills that helped me excel during the internship.”

McDermott spent her summer working primarily with the Union’s youth programs, whose mission is to “create a positive developmental experience for young people to grow through educational, fun learning experiences with the goal to inspire the next generation of Union players.”  Working primarily in an administrative capacity, she was responsible for overseeing the team’s summer-camp programs.  “The role was extremely broad,” she explained, “I was actually wearing a lot of different hats over the summer.”  Communicating daily with parents and coaches and planning clinics and tournaments, she gained a concrete sense of the daily operations of a professional soccer franchise.

While her day-to-day role was with the youth programs and summer camps, she had the opportunity to work at “first-team” games and learned about game-day operations at the professional level.  Reflecting on these experiences, McDermott said, “As someone who grew up as a passionate soccer fan, it was a ‘pinch yourself’ kind of moment for me, and I definitely learned a lot from that experience.”

philly-union-mcdermott.jpegMcDermott was grateful to have worked for a team that valued its interns and helped them grow professionally. “I was lucky enough to have four mentors as my bosses over the summer who really pushed me to challenge myself and make the most of the opportunity,” she explained. She appreciated how her history and communication professors emphasized internships throughout her undergraduate years and that her Mount graduate program required an internship. Her experience with the Philadelphia Union confirmed why they are so important. “Looking back at this summer,” she said, “I am grateful because I learned so much.”

As her internship came to an end, McDermott left with a deeper sense of the path she wants to take for her future career.  “My education at the Mount taught me that a person’s career choice should not always be based on of how much money you can make,” she explained.  “It should focus on choosing a path that will give your life a real sense of purpose.” Prior to the internship, McDermott thought most about pursuing the marketing or public-relations side of professional sports, but she observed, “I have always believed that sports can be a tool for positive change, and I saw that in action by working in youth and grassroots sports over the summer.  That is something that I really want to be a part of moving forward.”

As McDermott embarks on the final year of her master’s program in sport management, she has accepted a part-time and remote position for the Philadelphia Union Youth in an administrative role and as manager of its social-media platforms.  With a Mount education and a summer’s worth of experience in the sports industry behind her, she is excited about the opportunities that await.

College of Liberal Arts Staff