They had the chance to walk at field level and view the club suites, premium seating areas and service levels. They also met with officials from St. Louis CITY SC to hear about the challenges and opportunities that come with managing a professional sports venue.
“Overall, the visit provided a valuable learning experience for the students, giving them firsthand insight into the operations of a professional sports facility, daily operations and the values of St. Louis CITY SC,” said Karen Boleska, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Education Sciences and Professional Programs who serves as the director of UMSL’s sport management program.
The soccer club and university announced a partnership in January that makes UMSL the official higher education partner of St. Louis CITY SC. As part of the partnership, UMSL is serving as the presenting partner for CITY SC’s esports program and the two organizations are working together to build the St. Louis CITY SC/UMSL Sport Management Program, building on the university’s existing curriculum for UMSL’s Bachelor of Science in Sport Management.
As part of the program, UMSL students are getting opportunities such as Wednesday’s to engage with CITY SC executives. The club is also providing access to paid internship opportunities for UMSL students across all majors.
Students in Boleska’s Educational and Community Athletics class are getting the opportunity to work with the club on public-facing projects, starting with CITY Mapping. Their task is to identify soccer fields and soccer clubs in the St. Louis metropolitan area and create an interactive map that will eventually be available under a dedicated tab on CITY SC’s website. The map will give users the chance to click into individual counties in the St. Louis region and see an overview of fields, clubs and leagues, and it will include information such as the fees associated with each club.
“It is a valuable initiative that aims to provide comprehensive and accurate information on soccer resources in the region,” Boleska said. “The mapping process involves a systematic and rigorous approach to data collection and analysis, with the goal of creating an up-to-date and reliable database of all soccer-related activities and facilities. This information can be used to identify areas of need for soccer development, assess the distribution and accessibility of resources, and inform strategic planning for soccer growth in the region. The mapping project is an important step towards creating a more cohesive and coordinated soccer community in greater St. Louis, and has the potential to improve access to soccer for all residents – particularly youth – all while also ensuring equitable access to soccer for all children in the area.”
During Wednesday’s visit to CITYPARK, students gave a presentation on their progress to team officials. Boleska said their work was well-received and is ultimately expected to contribute to the success of the St. Louis CITY SC Futures program as it promotes the growth of the sport across the region.