This summer’s Gold Cup football tournament provided a Caymanian intern with a great training opportunity.
Throughout the 2013 Gold Cup, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football has provided the opportunity for interns to learn about the industry, develop skills and explore the passion for football. One of them is Alexander Cowan of the Cayman Islands.
Cowan, 22, was born in Cayman and recently graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology. Cowan is currently spending his summer as a sports marketing intern with CONCACAF and has been travelling around the United States as a marketing intern for the Gold Cup tournament.
Over the three-week tournament period, the young intern travelled to arenas in California, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Illinois, where he has liaised with major corporate sponsors, assisted with sponsor branding placement around the arenas, set up VIP suites and monitored vendor sites.
“Alex has been a great addition to our team during this event. He has been working closely with our sponsorships and operations groups throughout several stadiums, working tirelessly for long hours. His level of enthusiasm is just as it was on the first day,” said Manolo Zubiria, CONCACAF director of operations and Alex’s direct supervisor during his internship.
Cowan, who will be pursuing a masters of science in sports management in the fall, was awarded the CONCACAF internship by CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. The student first met the regional football president after volunteering with the Cayman Organising Committee of the upcoming CONCACAF U15 Championships.
Alexander’s interest and desire to learn more granted him the opportunity to head to Los Angeles for the opening of the 2013 Gold Cup and meet the CONCACAF team from whom he would be learning throughout the duration of the tournament.
“We are sure he will remember this experience for a long time. But mostly, we hope that it will help him in his career development as he has a bright future ahead of him,” said Zubiria.
Through this internship, Alexander is discovering the business behind professional sports and is developing a true understanding and passion for the management of sporting events. He has called his summer internship the experience of a lifetime.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Cowan said. “Working for CONCACAF has been a dream come true. I have learned how much hard work and time is invested in coordinating world class events and I’ve also learned a tremendous appreciation for sports marketing and the many different approaches and strategies involved in making an event successful.”
After he completes his master’s degree, Alexander hopes to enter into the sporting industry and admits that as a result of his experiences with CONCACAF at the Gold Cup, he is leaning towards developing a focused profession in sports marketing.
“I don’t think I will ever forget this experience,” he said. “During the first Gold Cup game between Mexico and Panama, there were around 55,000 fans in the stadium and I recall when the first goal was made by Mexico, the crowd erupted in cheers and fireworks were set off outside the stadium.
“I had to stop what I was doing and just take in the moment – it was amazing that I contributed in some way to that exhilarating occurrence.”