Graduate Uses Internship to Springboard to Sports Industry Work


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships are a great way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom. But you can also use an internship to make connections that can lead to bigger and better things.  That’s exactly what May graduate Kristen Dethloff has done with the help of the University Career Center (UCC) and her internship supervisor.

Kristen Dethloff

The Chicago native received her BA in Communication (with a minor in Criminal Justice) last spring while finishing up an internship with the Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville soccer clubs. “My responsibilities ranged from redesigning and circulating promotional game day emails to fans to distributing newly branded products to season ticket members, and becoming the go-to team member when it comes to the Louisville City FC app.”

Dethloff was actually somewhat hesitant about doing an internship in the first place. However, UCC career coach Rosie Shannon helped to lessen her fears.  “After expressing my worries and career anxieties, Rosie opened my eyes to the fact that an internship could be my ticket to calming those anxieties by getting my foot in the door to potential industries and allowing that experience to help guide me in my career goals. She also taught me the valuable lesson of getting out of my comfort zone when it came to applying for various internships.”

In addition, the lessons she has learned in that internship have been incredibly valuable.  “I have learned more about myself and what I hope to find one day in a permanent workplace. I learned that having a boss and coworkers you look up to and admire can make the difference between dreading a job and looking forward to it. I have learned that I am an individual who thrives on genuine interpersonal relationships and enjoys working on a team that values the importance of human interaction. I have learned that I am capable, driven, accomplished, dependable, eager to learn, and have a positive highly contagious personality.”

Last spring, Dethloff launched into a full-time job search with the assistance of UCC career coach Mallory Newby. “Mallory built me up to grow more confident in myself and the value that I would bring to a workplace. She has helped me with interview prep, the job search itself, applying for jobs, resume cleanups and even little things such as drafting follow up emails."

Now, Dethloff finds herself working part-time as a tutor for the UofL athletic department (where she has worked since 2019) and continuing her involvement with the Louisville FC and Racing clubs.  Since June, she has also been working in a new part-time sports industry position with the Chicago Fire from Major League Soccer, with the possibility of a full-time position this fall.  “I can directly cite my Louisville FC internship as the reason I received this incredible position. I had applied for a full-time position with the Chicago Fire back in March and had asked my boss at LouCity for advice on applying, resumes, etc. I came to find out that the moment I came to my boss for advice, she had begun networking on my behalf and searched the LouCity office for anyone who had a contact within the Chicago Fire. She found someone who knew an employee in the communications department and requested an introduction. Once connected to the Chicago Fire employee, she wrote a glowing and incredibly impactful letter of recommendation on my behalf that was sent to the hiring manager. Within a week I had an interview and while I ended up not being a fit for that particular position, they saw my potential so they hired me to the position I am in now.”

Perhaps most important, Dethloff has become firm in her career plans. “Now that I have had experience and a foot in the door at two professional soccer organizations (and loved every moment of it), I hope to one day work full-time for a sports organization or a sports-related company within their community outreach/engagement department. The idea of being involved in an effort like that gives me goosebumps”

Just as Kristen Dethloff found, internships are an important experience for all students. More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website.  If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.