Internship Spotlight – Cole Eckel, FC Tucson

Eller PDC Coordinator Student Stories

As an underclassman at the University of Arizona, I was eager to get involved in anything that peaked my interest. I signed up for clubs that had cool descriptions, went to meet and greets with companies I liked, and explored internship/externship opportunities around Tucson. One of these local opportunities came from professional soccer club FC Tucson, where I am employed 3 years later.

FC Tucson hosts the annual Major League Soccer Preseason Tournament from mid-January to the end of February that sees 10 MLS franchises come to Tucson to train in our fantastic winter weather. With 10 teams coming down there is big need for man power, and FC Tucson brings in many U of A students to help staff the event. I remember hearing about the internship opportunity from my counselor who knew I was interested in sports and forwarded me the internship details. I had my interview with the club a week later and the rest has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had.

As someone who grew up in Tucson, I never thought this town would be able to help launch anyone’s professional sports dreams. There are no major professional sports teams in Tucson and it never seemed likely that the future would bring one. Tucson felt like a really large college town that was simply known for just that, having the University of Arizona as its focal point. In terms of professional sports, I did not think Tucson would be able to provide the opportunities that most other large U.S. cities afford.

Working the MLS Preseason Tournament with FC Tucson blew that misconception out of the water. I had no idea professional sports teams were coming to Tucson, and that while they were here, were looking for eager students to be a part of their organization. My first Preseason, there were 10 MLS teams that came to Tucson to train, and about half of them ended up hiring our interns to summer internships or full-time positions. That wasn’t all though, many of the offers our interns got came from organizations in sports besides soccer. The Los Angeles Rams, Phoenix Suns, and the U.S. Olympic committee are a few of the other organizations who gave out offers. It blew me away that University of Arizona students had such an incredible opportunity to get hired in professional sports.

In my third year with FC Tucson, I have made my way into their front office staff as the MLS Preseason and Game Day Coordinator. In this position I am responsible for finding interested students to help staff the MLS Preseason event that helped get me to this very spot. It’s an incredible feeling coming full circle and recruiting students, just as I was recruited a mere 3 years ago. As it is that time of year again where FC Tucson is beginning to recruit again, I am looking for interested students to apply.

If you have ever thought about a career in professional sports, I urge you to apply for this great internship. It has helped many students get to a sports position they want to be in, which most people in this industry struggle with. If you are interested, I encourage you to send your resume to cole@fctucson.com. I’m in a position I never thought possible thanks to this internship, and you can be too.