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Center for Sports Administration Students Partner with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew

Wednesday, October 21 2015 03:00pm

Like most young boys from Cairo, Egypt, Karim Fathi grew up dreaming of playing soccer. Although he was never quite good enough to play professionally, Karim has found another way to fulfill his dream as a graduate student in the dual MBA/MSA program at Ohio University. After completing an internship with Major League Soccer’s (MLS) DC United over the summer, Karim returned to campus looking for new opportunities to build his soccer profile.


“My dream is to work in professional soccer,” said Fathi. “I feel fortunate that through the connections in the Center for Sports Administration, I’m able to explore various aspects of professional soccer.”

Fathi found partners in first-year graduate students Harrison McIntire and Francesco Marini, both lifelong soccer fans starting the same dual degree program. Marini, who moved from Italy to be a part of the Sports Administration program, was working for a soccer team back home when he moved to Athens. “I grew up playing soccer since I was a young boy and I was working for a team in Italy but I wanted to advance my career,” Marini said. “Ohio University provided me with a great opportunity to get an MBA and be a part of the number one ranked sports graduate program in the world.”

Center for Sports Administration Executive Director Jim Kahler introduced Fathi to the Crew SC’s marketing team and they hatched a plan to create a street marketing team for Southeast Ohio based in Athens and to hold an Ohio University Night at the Crew SC’s stadium.

“The Columbus Crew SC wanted to expand their brand in Southeast Ohio and connect with the Bobcats living in the Columbus area,” said Kahler. “This was a great opportunity to connect our students to a sport they loved, give them hands on experience in the business of sport, and build out a partnership with a premier sports league. It’s a win for all of us.”


The trio hired three undergraduate students to be a part of the street team. Luke Rice, Garrett Conner, and Griffin Ward were selected from a pool of candidates to help with marketing efforts like tabling on campus and local outreach. Their goal is to promote the Crew SC’s Ohio University night on October 25and pack the stadium with Bobcats.

“This is a great opportunity for both the team and for our program,” said Harrison McIntire, a lifelong soccer player who was forced to quit in his senior year of high school due to multiple concussions. “It is a chance for us to establish a partnership with a professional team, gain important experience, and network. It is also a great opportunity for the Crew SC to gain a presence in Athens and sell more tickets.”

To help promote Ohio University Night on Sunday, October 25, Crew SC is offering tickets to the Ohio University family at $16 and $25 (nearly 50 percent off regular price). In addition, the first 75 people on game day will receive a free Crew SC hat, and everyone will be entered to win an autographed jersey. Students, staff, and alumni are invited to a happy hour at 3:30 pm at MAPFRE stadium club before the 5:00 kick off. The match, against DC United, is the final game of the regular season and both teams are battling for second seed in the eastern conference going into the playoffs.

To get your tickets, go to