UCCS and Colorado Rapids create first US ‘Soccer Business Management’ degree

The Colorado Rapids Soccer Club of Major League Soccer and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs College of Business have partnered to launch the first business degree in the United States with a dedicated soccer “track”.

Starting in the Fall of 2015, students will be able to gain hands-on experience through professional practicum with the soccer organization at the UCCS Education Center, an exclusive interactive classroom at the Rapids’ stadium, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

The Rapids front office staff will provide real-world learning experiences in areas such as marketing, digital media, ticket sales, sponsorship sales and soccer operations.

Only 23 students a year will be accepted on to this highly-competitive program which boasts exclusive industry connections throughout the world.

“We have worked diligently to build our relationships with the Colorado Rapids to provide the type of rigorous professional learning experience students need to launch successful careers in the soccer industry,” said Eric Olson, director, Sport Management Program. “In the ultra-competitive world of sports business, this is the kind of education and experiential training that opens doors and sets you apart as a sports professional.”

“We are delighted to launch such an innovative sports business program with UCCS,” added Tim Hinchey, President of Colorado Rapids. “We feel that the blend of the Rapids' practical know-how and the academic reputation of UCCS could help create some of the sports business leaders of tomorrow.”

“I’m delighted to see the realization of over two years of hard work between UCCS and the Colorado Rapids,” said Venkat Reddy, dean, College of Business. “This program is the first of its kind program in the US. It truly exemplifies both our organizations’ passion for preparing students for bright futures in the exciting and expanding business of soccer.”

* Colorado Rapids were formed in 1996 and were one of the ten charter teams of MLS. Rapids reached the MLS Cup final in 1997 and won the competition in 2010. Their greatest players include Marcelo Balboa, Paul Bravo, Chris Henderson, John Spencer and Pablo Mastroeni. Mastroeni is the current head coach and they started their bid to win the Western Conference with a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia Union. Their home opener is against New York City FC on March 21 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, kickoff 2pm.

* The UCCS College of Business was established in 1965 and has more than 1,000 undergraduates and 350 MBA and distance MBA students. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu/business.

* The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in Colorado. The University offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 masters and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 11,000 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu

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