I believe my competitive advantage when I was hired by this club is my willingness to step in and problem solve at whatever level. Being involved with the business side, as a front office staff member, for my first two seasons helped me to build an understanding of the organization’s business needs.
The interview with Alex Mejia was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
1Tell us about your role as the Clubhouse Manager for FC Edmonton. What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day as a Clubhouse Manager for FC Edmonton includes attending team meetings, managing the equipment for training sessions as well as supporting the execution of them and overseeing player support services.
Other responsibilities outside the pitch involve placing and following up with team kit and equipment orders, submitting inventory reports and collaborating with stakeholders at the club and league level.
Another fundamental part of my role is collaborating with my front office colleagues from other departments such as media, marketing, community engagement, ticketing, sponsorships, operations and financials.
There are never two days alike in this industry. There will always be tasks that need to be addressed, rectified and/or solved in a timely manner with the corresponding departments to stay organized on and off the pitch.
I feel fortunate in my role because it allows me to have a full 360-degree view of how the business operations and football operations connect within the organization.
I can contribute ideas and support other departments, as well as identify issues or improvements that will benefit the organization.
2I notice that you are responsible for overseeing many operational areas, including player management services, equipment, apparel supplies, and training sessions just to name a few. How Page | 1 do you prioritize and manage all that goes into your role, and can you speak on the importance of being multi-faceted within the sport industry?
Working in professional football is a fast-paced industry that can become hectic quickly.
In my experience, it’s critical to be able to identify what the priorities are based on the seasonal, monthly and weekly plans.
Being organized on a daily basis means I can manage any reactive needs when they arise. Being flexible in my work style also helps, so I can identify when to adjust priorities.
It’s not uncommon that I have a plan that I need to change because of changes from other stakeholders. For example, changes or new requests from the league, players, coaches, and front office staff.
It is also fundamental to have the ability to adapt and be ready to prepare for the unknown for the benefit of the organization, especially during COVID-19 times when government restrictions, supply chains and logistical challenges have been a constant.
3What did it take for you to get the role as the Clubhouse Manager for FC Edmonton?
Becoming a Clubhouse Manager for FC Edmonton is a result of the endless efforts and sacrifices I have made over the past nine years where I’ve focused on gaining experience in the sports industry, specifically in football.
From volunteering at two FIFA tournaments, collaborating with several Spanish media outlets as a sports commentator/host to achieving a Master’s in Football Business and other certifications, every bit has helped me to get where I am now.
I believe my competitive advantage when I was hired by this club is my willingness to step in and problem solve at whatever level.
Being involved with the business side, as a front office staff member, for my first two seasons helped me to build an understanding of the organization’s business needs.
When I moved into the club’s football operations, my transition felt natural. I adapted quickly and hit the ground running to support the coaching staff with daily tasks and collaborate to support the planning and execution of the team’s season objectives.
If you want to be successful in this industry, it’s important to understand that you won’t have a 9 to 5 type schedule.
There’s always work to be done, but that being said, finding the right balance between my personal life and professional life is something I’m always working towards to make time for family, health, hobbies and down time.
4FC Edmonton have proven their ability to not only develop players, but coaches as well. What kind of emphasis is placed on staff development with FC Edmonton?
I can’t speak specifically to coach development, but I can say the club focuses on providing staff with the right tools for professional development.
From getting trained to use several softwares, being involved in league meetings and collaborating with stakeholders, to attending sport business webinars.
Every time we represent the organization in networking events, it is also an opportunity to develop our own professional skills.
5The sport industry is extremely competitive. What are three essential skills that you believe someone needs to succeed in the industry?
I don’t have three skills, but four that I work by.
Work with passion.
I firmly believe that when working in the sports industry, if you are passionate for the sport, then you are also passionate for what you do no matter what the job is or responsibilities are. Also, when you are passionate, you are able to see football from different angles. Trying to over deliver as much as possible, and when executed properly, can lead to bigger tasks which opens up the door to opportunities for higher roles.
Nurture your competitive advantage.
It is important to identify what those competitive advantages are and maximize them. These advantages you need to nurture them because they will be very important to leverage them during job interviews or when trying to excel in jobs. No one else will tell you you need to do that or need to do this. It’s your own commitment to your personal development that will lead you to finding those advantages. Whether it is languages, hard skills, soft skills, networking connections, experience, information resources. It is the willingness to explore more and embrace those advantages that you develop.
Networking for me has been fundamental to achieve several goals in my career. Through interacting with others already working in the industry you want to be involved with, you feel the pulse on the job market, stay in touch with current trends, meet prospective clients, partners and potential mentors. Besides developing and improving your skill sets, networking gives you access to the necessary resources to foster your career development.
Listen and respect other people's viewpoints. At the end of the day, you will learn from them, their experiences and their viewpoints which leads to building a strong rapport with coworkers, managers, stakeholders and fans. To me, it is a skill that can always be improved and the more you learn to listen the more you will be able to absorb as much information for your own personal and professional growth.
6I’d love to ask you to provide our audience with some career advice. Based on your own experience, how does an aspiring sport professional find a job that’s right for them?
For aspiring sport professionals, first identify the sport, or sports, you are passionate about. Then research which teams or organizations you would want to be part of and the type of jobs they advertise.
This will set you up to identify the type of candidate profiles, skill sets and experience required by organizations you’re targeting.
Pay close attention to the list of qualities and qualifications, and aim to fulfill each one, so you fit their candidate profile.
Don’t forget to add any experience or knowledge that will make you stand out from the rest. Getting out of your comfort zone and looking for opportunities where nobody looks for.
From my own experience, never give up. If you need to apply to 100 job postings and don’t receive callbacks immediately, keep applying because the next posting could be the one that will get you the job you’re working towards.