Sports Management Gets Inside Look at Italian Soccer Team
Sports Management Gets Inside Look at Italian Soccer Team


by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor


When Neil Patrick Harris ’16 was only 11 years old, he had to have double knee surgery, which effectively ended his soccer playing days. A sports management major, he has found that the next best way to stay involved is through coaching and though the administrative side of a team.

So it was only natural that while he is spending the semester at UNH’s campus in Prato he would seek opportunities to gain experience working with one of the professional teams in Italy. He’s doing just that as an intern with Real Aglianese ACF, a women’s soccer team in Italy’s third division.


Neil Patrick Harris '16 (back row, second from left)

He assists during practices and games, develops scouting reports and recruits players, and he also helps to secure new sponsors and develop strategies to get more fans to the matches. He has felt like a member of the team since day one.

“The first time I met the manager we exchanged names and shook hands,” he said. “The he pulled a team scarf out of his bag and offered it to me as a sign of friendship. We had just met, and he was already offering me a token of his appreciation.”

In addition to his work with Real Aglianese, Harris connected with some other coaches in Prato, and he is doing some individual consulting with some of the men’s teams in the area. “It is a win-win for both the team and I, as they can get a fresh pair of eyes on their players and learn new training methods, and I can learn how teams train in a foreign country and see the facilities and equipment they use.”

Prior to traveling abroad, Harris served as a coaching assistant for UNH’s men’s soccer team and as an operations intern for the team. He’s also interned at the Connecticut Sportsplex in North Branford. Ultimately, his goal is to work in the athletic department of a major Division I institution.

“This role has brought all of my experiences together,” he said. “Seeing how difficult it can be to secure new sponsorships and increase attendance for games provides a new appreciation for the industry and the work it takes to accomplish our goals.”

 


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