Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Sally Freedman: Online Promotion Manager, UEFA

Passion and persistence are the driving forces behind Sally Freedman’s successful career in the football industry. Growing up as a dedicated Brighton and Hove Albion supporter in England, Sally always had a dream of working in the sport she loves. After receiving an academic scholarship to study a Masters in Business (Sport Management) in 2007, Sally moved to Australia to pursue her career in football.

While in Australia, Sally’s application for a volunteer position at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup led to a full-time paid role as the Protocol Manager for the prestigious event. With her experience in sport and football growing, Sally eventually moved to Switzerland in 2018 to work for UEFA.

In this exclusive interview, Sally shares her unique career journey, her love for football, and her strong commitment to promoting gender equality in the industry.

How did you start working in the football industry?

Sally’s path into the football industry took a slightly unconventional route. Originally from Australia on a scholarship to pursue her Masters, she faced difficulties breaking into the sports industry, particularly football. Despite facing numerous rejections, Sally remained determined to pursue her dream and stay in Australia.

After working in a non-sports role for a few years, Sally found an opportunity in the ice skating industry as the Business Manager for Ice Skating Queensland. While it wasn’t her ultimate goal, it provided her with a stepping stone towards her dream. Later, Sally secured a position at the University of Queensland as the Business Development Manager within the university’s sports sector.

In 2014, while attending the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Sally received an email notifying her that she had been selected for an interview for a volunteer position at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia. Despite the challenging logistics, Sally managed to attend the interview and impressed the panel with her passion for football and her experience in marketing and communication. As a result, she was offered a paid position as the Protocol Manager for the Asian Cup.

Sally’s journey into the football industry was a mix of persistence, good timing, and a bit of luck. She seized opportunities, even when they seemed challenging, and it ultimately paid off.

What makes you so passionate about football?

For Sally, her love for football started from a young age. Growing up in Brighton, England, with football enthusiast parents, she became a dedicated Brighton supporter. Playing football with her brothers in the garden and attending Brighton’s home games fueled her passion for the sport.

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Her first job in the industry was working at Brighton’s old ground, the Goldstone Ground, at the age of 14. Despite facing setbacks at school, where she was discouraged from playing football, Sally was determined to find a way to be involved in the sport she loved.

As an adult, Sally joined a women’s football team and started playing regularly. The camaraderie, skill development, and the excitement of the game made football an integral part of her life. Sally highlights football’s universal appeal and its ability to bring people together from all over the world. The unpredictability of the game and the “magic of the cup” also captivate her.

How did you come to work for UEFA and the UEFA Foundation for Children?

Sally’s move to Switzerland in 2018 was motivated by a desire to be closer to her family in England. She had always kept an eye on job vacancies at UEFA, and when she saw an opportunity for the role of Online Promotion Manager for Euro 2020, she applied. After a thorough recruitment process, Sally was offered the position, fulfilling her dream of working for UEFA.

As the Online Promotion Manager, Sally is responsible for managing the worldwide promotion of tickets for various UEFA events. Her role involves designing and implementing marketing and communication strategies, both online and offline, to increase reach, engagement, and revenue on a global scale.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sally’s role faced uncertainties. However, she was grateful to continue working part-time for UEFA and also had the opportunity to work for the UEFA Foundation for Children as the Communication Manager.

In her role at the foundation, Sally promotes and communicates their work to a global audience through various platforms. She has also developed a new communication strategy for the foundation to guide their activities in the coming years.

What are some of the notable projects you have worked on at the UEFA Foundation for Children?

Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, Sally has witnessed increased awareness and interest in the foundation’s work. She highlights the inspiring story of Marcus Rashford and his efforts to combat child hunger in England as an example of the impact football can have in addressing social issues.

Among the projects Sally is proud to be a part of, one stands out: the appointment of Ivan Rakitic, former Croatian international and current player at Sevilla FC, as the UEFA Foundation’s first official ambassador. Sally played a crucial role in planning and communicating this announcement. Rakitic’s involvement in promoting the foundation’s work, especially in relation to International Women’s Day, has been impactful.

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Additionally, Sally mentions a heartwarming story involving a young girl named Hanya, a football-loving refugee from Iran. Through the foundation’s efforts, Hanya had the opportunity to attend the 2020 UEFA Super Cup final, an experience that brought her immense joy.

What advice do you have for individuals aspiring to work in the football industry?

Sally emphasizes the importance of persistence and resilience. Facing rejection is part of the journey, but it’s essential to keep going and not be discouraged. She shares her personal experience of receiving over 100 rejection letters after graduating but never giving up on her dreams.

Networking is also crucial in the industry. Sally encourages individuals to reach out to professionals through platforms like LinkedIn and to seize every opportunity that comes their way. With the right work ethic and the support of the right people, success will eventually come.

What are your career goals for the future?

Sally sees herself continuing to utilize her expertise in marketing and communication in various areas of football content. She is especially passionate about promoting gender equality in the industry and hopes to secure a senior role where she can contribute to driving change in this area.

In conclusion, Sally Freedman’s journey into the football industry exemplifies the power of passion, persistence, and seizing opportunities. Her dedication has led her to work for UEFA and the UEFA Foundation for Children, where she continues to make a positive impact in promoting football and addressing social issues. With her unwavering commitment and valuable experience, Sally is a true inspiration for aspiring professionals in the football industry.

FAQs

Q: How did Sally Freedman start her career in the football industry?
A: Sally’s career in the football industry took an unconventional path. While living in Australia, she faced challenges breaking into the sports industry, but her determination and persistence led her to a role in ice skating, which eventually paved the way for opportunities in football. She later secured a position at the University of Queensland and volunteered for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, which eventually led to a full-time paid role.

Q: What makes Sally Freedman passionate about football?
A: Sally’s passion for football began at a young age. Growing up in Brighton, England, with football-loving parents, she developed a deep love for the sport. Despite facing obstacles, such as being discouraged from playing football at school, Sally’s determination to be involved in the beautiful game never wavered. The universal appeal, the unpredictability, and the sense of unity that football brings are what fuel her passion.

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Q: How did Sally Freedman come to work for UEFA and the UEFA Foundation for Children?
A: Sally’s move to Switzerland in 2018 was driven by her desire to be closer to her family in England. While keeping an eye on job vacancies at UEFA, she saw an opportunity for the role of Online Promotion Manager for Euro 2020 and applied. After a rigorous recruitment process, she was offered the position and fulfilled her dream of working for UEFA. Additionally, Sally had the opportunity to work for the UEFA Foundation for Children as the Communication Manager, further expanding her impact in the football industry.

Q: What are some notable projects Sally Freedman has worked on at the UEFA Foundation for Children?
A: Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sally has been involved in inspiring projects at the UEFA Foundation for Children. One notable project was the appointment of Ivan Rakitic as the foundation’s first official ambassador. Sally played a key role in planning and communicating this announcement. She also highlights the foundation’s efforts in promoting gender equality and sharing inspiring stories, such as the opportunity given to a young refugee girl to attend the UEFA Super Cup final.

Summary:

Sally Freedman’s journey into the football industry is a testament to the power of passion, persistence, and seizing opportunities. Growing up as a Brighton supporter in England, Sally always dreamed of working in the sport she loves. After facing challenges breaking into the industry, she found her way through unique paths and seized opportunities that ultimately led her to work for UEFA and the UEFA Foundation for Children.

Sally’s passion for football is deeply rooted in her upbringing and personal experiences. The universal appeal, the unpredictability, and the sense of unity that football brings have shaped her love for the sport.

Her roles at UEFA and the UEFA Foundation for Children have allowed her to contribute significantly to the promotion of football and addressing social issues. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Sally continues to make a positive impact, working with influential figures and sharing inspiring stories.

For aspiring professionals in the football industry, Sally offers valuable advice: persistence, networking, and seizing opportunities are vital for success. With her expertise and unwavering commitment to gender equality, Sally is set to achieve further success in her career and make a lasting impact in the industry.