WASHINGTON, PA (Apr. 10, 2017) – As an economics major, Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) junior Connor Robick spends his days studying the effects that different industries have on our nation’s economy. But last summer, he used a Magellan Project to shift his research to something else.
Connor travelled to Ireland, Scotland, and England to research youth soccer academics. As a soccer player himself, he grew up in the United States playing in youth programs, and wanted to know the differences.
“I chose this topic because of my lack of professional coaching during my youth playing soccer. I wanted to better understand the academy system in England, Ireland, and Scotland and compare them to the United States,” he said. “Not only that, but being an administrator, coach, or manager of a soccer team was and still is of interest to me in the future.”
Connor went to Glasgow, Dublin, London, Manchester, and Liverpool to talk with directors of each of those cities’ youth soccer clubs. He learned how serious the clubs are compared to the programs in the United States. In fact, most of the youth clubs he talked to were linked to professional clubs, so children receive a lot of quality guidance growing up playing soccer.
When he wasn’t touring soccer clubs or interviewing coaches, Connor spent the rest of his time exploring the countries and culture he was visiting. In doing so, he learned a lot about himself and the world around him.
“I have a broader vision of issues and events that are happening on a day to day basis because of my experiences there,” he said.
This experience was Connor’s first time studying abroad, and a lot of what he learned was in response to the challenges he faced because of his inexperience.
“It was hard for me to get used to being independent and on my own. I had to figure out public transportation in each city on my own, as well as having to plan my entire trip out,” he said. “Cancellations of interviews and meetings also taught me to think on the fly, and I think this trip helped me grow tremendously as a person in a short amount of time.”
Upon returning home, Connor has reaffirmed his love of soccer outside of his participation in the sport on W&J’s campus. He is taking what he learned on his Magellan and is applying it to his field of study.
“Academically, for my economics major, I am now researching the effects that soccer teams have on economic development in London,” he said. “After that, I want to continue the research I am doing for this senior thesis in a one-year master’s program in London.”
Connor would like to thank Tyler Tenney, Dr. Tiffani Gottschall, and Roberta Cross for their help in achieving this project. He believes that the Magellan project has opened many possibilities for his future that he would not have discovered without it. He now knows that he wants to continue work with soccer after college, and has found, through his research, many ways in which he can go about it.
About the Magellan Project
Established in 2008, Washington & Jefferson College’s unique Magellan Project extends liberal arts learning outside the classroom by providing scholarship funding for students to spend the summer pursuing independent projects and internships in the United States and abroad. Learn more about the Magellan Project on the W&J website.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.
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