The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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UNA students take field trip to soccer club


On Nov. 15, Huntsville City Football Club, a professional soccer team based in Huntsville, Alabama, held a stadium tour in which several UNA students and faculty were in attendance.

Although the event was not officially affiliated with the university, the tour was promoted to several students within the UNA Department of Communications, due in part to Laurel Butz, Partnerships Activation Coordinator for HCFC and UNA Public Relations alumna. The purpose of the tour is to help showcase the different career paths within professional sports that are available to Mass Communication graduates. 

“What I learned coming out of college was that there was a lot of lack of diversity in the job force. Before you exit college, you are not really being exposed to everything that is truly out there, and is truly an option,” Butz said in the days leading up to the tour. “To actually understand what makes up a city’s economic growth; a city’s long term longevity, there is a lot more that plays into those pieces.”

Butz stressed the wide variety of careers within the professional athletics industry, saying, “No one talks about the sports industry unless you are in sports management. Well, guess what, they need reporters; they need journalists; they need every single major out there. They need business majors, accountants, everything.”

Although many organizations like Huntsville City FC need graduates from many different areas, one of the most commonly overlooked areas of study is Mass Communication. Betsy Heckert, a Public Relations lecturer at UNA, said, “I think there is a lot of confusion about what a major in Mass Communication or Comm. Studies actually means. In the past there have really been very specific roles and responsibilities in those areas, and now they are much broader; they are much more diverse. They apply to all industries and all businesses. If you are not aware of that, you are just unfamiliar with how versatile these degrees can be.”

Some of the topics of discussion during the stadium tour were the growth of the city of Huntsville and the importance of Huntsville City FC to the surrounding community. The tour also allowed its attendees to meet with the employees of the various departments within HCFC and learn about future internship possibilities through a future internship program which will include opportunities for fall, spring and summer internships.

HCFC is a relatively new face within Major League Soccer, as an MLS Next Pro organization owned by Nashville Soccer Club in Nashville, Tennessee. MLS Next Pro organizations function similarly to farm teams in other professional sports leagues such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and others.

As the reserve team for Nashville SC, Huntsville City FC stands out among its Next Pro peers as the only Next Pro team to be established outside of the original MLS team’s home city. “What Nashville [SC] realized […] was that we have this opportunity to expand this team. Why don’t we take a chance on it and create something that is completely unique to itself,” said Butz. “This has allowed for us to really be a kind of standout; a north star across the program [MLS Next Pro].” 

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Trevor Mickle
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.

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