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A Day in the Field: Niagara College Sport Management Students Gain Industry Insights from Ontario Soccer Staff

By Staff, 04/05/24, 12:45PM EDT


Dozens of students from Niagara College’s Sport Management Program visited the Zanchin Automotive Soccer Centre on Thursday to tour the facility, meet professionals from Ontario Soccer, and learn the ins and outs of working in the sports industry.

Play. Inspire. Unite.

Students from the Niagara College Sport Management program enjoyed an immersive experience with Ontario Soccer during a visit to the Zanchin Automotive Soccer Centre on April 4. The afternoon was spent discussing the intricacies of working in the dynamic and multifaceted world of sport, and highlighting the endless opportunities for professionals to thrive in the industry. 

The visit began with a tour of the Zanchin Automotive Soccer Centre, led by Ontario Soccer’s Director of Facilities and General Manager, Mike Giona. 

“I think the highlight of the day was the opportunity to come to a facility like this,” said Devyn Singh, a student in the Niagara College Sport Management program. “I’m not from this general location, so I think it was very beneficial for everybody to understand the type of environment they might end up working in, and what things to anticipate and prepare for.” 

After exploring the Zanchin Automotive Soccer Centre, the group sat down for a presentation by Ontario Soccer’s CEO, Johnny Misley. His purpose was to give students a realistic take on life in the sports industry, dispelling myths and emphasizing the importance of perseverance, adaptability, and a genuine passion for the field. 

“Well, they're either going to be inspired and excited about pursuing a career in sports, or [the presentation] maybe dissuade some people. The sports industry isn't for everybody. But all in all, I think the takeaway here is that sport in general, and how it serves the community, is very powerful in a positive way,” said Misley. “People who have the privilege to work in the industry get an opportunity to leave tremendous legacies in their careers, help build up communities, and really contribute positively to our society and our country.” 

"Johnny Misley has so many amazing things to say about the world of sport management and is so well connected,” said Steve Carroll, professor of Sport Management at Niagara College. “People pay a lot of money for a ‘Master Class’ like that. To hear Johnny’s wisdom and experience was invaluable.” 

Following his presentation, four Ontario Soccer staff members were featured on a panel to share their own stories and tips for pursuing a career in the industry. The panel included Senior Director of Administration Patty Forbes, Coordinator of Match Official Development Sinéad Kappel, Manager of Member Services Jordan Lynch-Roach, and Manager of Facilities Administration Matt Kassabian, providing students a wide range of perspectives. 

“The most valuable thing was meeting with young sport management professionals who are already working in the field and hearing about their day-to-day jobs. It’s useful for students to actually see themselves in the people that were on the panel, and to know what the future looks like for a career in sport management.” 

“I just want to thank the people that were part of the panel today and the people who ran this event, because I feel that everybody - whether they're athletes, fans of soccer or not - every student walked away today with more knowledge about sports,” Singh added. “My main takeaway is that there's plenty of opportunity in sport for people of all backgrounds and all ages. Also, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself in order to make yourself appealing in this industry.” 

Ontario Soccer would like to thank the Niagara College Sport Management program for their enthusiastic participation throughout the visit. We hope that everyone enjoyed their time and learned something valuable for their future careers. 

"I think it's important for all sport organizations like ours to give back or pay it forward to Sport Management programs like the one we had today from Niagara College. This is the next generation of leaders in sport,” said Johnny Misley, CEO of Ontario Soccer. “We've all been in those programs and seats ourselves, so it's our way of helping open their eyes to the world of working in amateur and professional sport, and it's our way of giving back and contributing to the success of future leaders of our industry.” 

Throughout the year, Ontario Soccer actively seeks to enhance the education of aspiring sport professionals by offering internship opportunities across its various departments like Competitions and Events, Business, Development, Membership Services, Finance and more. The organization takes on several cohorts of interns throughout the year, thrusting them into the world of Ontario Soccer. After a few weeks, interns leave with practical career experience and connections in the industry. 

If you’re interested in an internship with Ontario Soccer, keep an eye on our Employment Page which is updated regularly with new opportunities: