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Here at the Sydney Roosters we recently hosted Jill Homerding, a university student from Chicago. Jill joined the Club for a six-week internship, working mainly in our Memberships and Marketing Departments. At the end of Jill's time with us, we asked her to sit down and write about her experience.

A pleasure to have in the office and a new friend to each of us here at Roosters HQ, Jill will be missed within these walls and we wish her all the best back home in the States - where we know she'll be cheering the boys on from Round 1!

My Time with the Sydney Roosters

When I first found out Id be interning with the Sydney Roosters, a professional rugby league football club based in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, I knew Id have a good experience but I could have never imagined how amazing my time with the club would truly be. It would be fair to say my internship with the Roosters has been an experience of a lifetime.

Ive known for a while that working in sports is where Im meant to be and its something Im extremely passionate about. My past two internships have been in baseball so when I found out Id be working with a rugby team in Australia, I was up for the challenge. I can still remember opening the email that contained my internship placement. First I had a modest celebration to myself and then I logged on to Twitter to follow the team. During the weeks leading up to leave for Sydney Id follow their tweets, which only made me more anxious to intern for what looked like a very reputable squad.

Even though I had a feeling the office would have a very welcoming and laid back atmosphere, I was still nervous my first day. That feeling quickly passed as I fell in love with the office and the people in it. One of the first things I started to notice with the Roosters was the family environment they had created. Ive only been here six weeks but I could tell you about peoples cats, family members, hobbies and interests. The feeling of a family within the whole organization is something special and its something Ive yet to experience in the States. It might be because the Australian work culture is a lot more relaxed and laid back than the American way or, it may be that professional sports are on a much larger scale back home. Regardless, I believe more work places should function like the Roosters. Who wouldnt love going to work when you know everyone will be joking around with one another?

One aspect that is extremely different in the States is the interaction of the professional athletes and the staff members. Not to say that Im complaining about this circumstance but I was certainly shocked to see how much of a presence the players have in the office. Some are more outgoing than others but having them around the office means theres never a dull moment. Id say the reason for this interaction would be due to the fact that their training room is in the office building. In the States the training facilities are normally at distant locations. The front office and the players are kept entirely separate and you definitely wouldnt see players walking around shirtless or joking with staff or even playing soccer and volleyball with an intern in the office. If I am lucky enough to work for a professional sports team back home, Im really going to miss the fun that comes with the athletes being around all the time.

The general functions of the office are the same as professional sports teams back in America; departments like marketing, public relations, community relations, social media, ticket sales, partnerships, finance, operations, etc. Consequently, I plan to take everything Ive learned and experienced with the Roosters back to the States with me. Im really hoping to bring a fresh perspective of interning abroad to a sports organization back home. One of my favorite tasks Ive done during my time with the Roosters has been helping out with the Players Membership Drive, which sees players help out the Memberships Team, on the phones, getting past Members to renew. What a genius idea and, not to mention, the perfect marketing promotion! It was pretty neat to experience this and I couldnt stop thinking about how smart of a marketing strategy it really was. Not only is the Membership team gaining numbers but it shows that the players are in tune with their fans that show their loyal support. I had never heard of a marketing scheme like this and Im excited to bring the idea back to the States.

The past six weeks have flown by too fast. Ive truly enjoyed every minute with the Roosters and I have gained memories that I will cherish forever. I can only hope to work for a sports organization as incredible as the Sydney Roosters one day.
Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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