Communication: Student interns with city's premier soccer team
With her ponytail tightened, bright athletic clothes donned and an infectious smile displayed, Taylor Bombalski entered class to pursue the only thing she loves as much as soccer: her major at Waynesburg University. In class, the junior public relations student learned about internship requirements for the Department of Communication at Waynesburg University. She listened intently, taking notes and racking her brain for a way to unite her two passions.
Later that evening, she saw a television commercial for The Pittsburgh Riverhounds, the city’s premier United Soccer League’s Pro Division team, and its inaugural season at Highmark Stadium in downtown Pittsburgh. Something clicked. She logged on to the team’s website and inquired about a public relations internship for the summer of 2013.
“I love soccer. I have been playing since I was four. I just looked up the Riverhounds and saw they had interns for the summer and felt this was the perfect opportunity to learn the ropes,” Bombalski said.
Bombalski, who feels at home on the field, with the turf gliding under her cleats and the crowd roaring above her, said she experienced complete comfort at her internship location. After securing the job and learning about her public relations, sports marketing, sales, media relations and event management responsibilities, she decided she wouldn’t be intimidated by those either.
“My public relations writing and production class helped me with writing tips, and advanced PR strategies helped me to plan and implement an event,” said Bombalski. “As a member of the Waynesburg women’s soccer team, I understand the lingo and tactics of the semi-professional soccer team.”
With a combination of athletic experience and public relations knowledge, Bombalski created overviews for game day programs, tracked statistics, wrote articles and planned a special “Latino Heritage Night” event for the team.
“The internship was a little bit of everything so that I could figure out exactly what I love to do,” Bombalski said. “My favorite part was planning my event. I got to meet with key spokespeople and network; it was a challenge but I learned so much.”
Her internship supervisor, John Rotz, assistant coach and member of team operations for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, wholeheartedly agreed that Bombalski grew as a young public relations professional during the summer.
“Taylor was a quick learner, which enabled her to be trusted with many new facets of the day-to-day operations of the club, which in turn accelerated her exposure and enhanced her experience,” Rotz said. “If I knew that Taylor was handling a responsibility, I was at ease due to her professionalism on all fronts.”