NWSL partnership with Budweiser opens door to offseason internship

In the NWSL offseason, some players go overseas to compete in Australia’s W-League while others take a small break before they train on their own in preparation for the next year’s preseason camp. This past offseason, however, another option presented itself. With the NWSL’s new partnership with Budweiser, parent company Anheuser-Busch provided a seven-week internship for NWSL players in New York. Defender Satara Murray and forward Shea Groom were among the first batch of NWSL players to participate in the new internship. 

Really and truly, it is helping us as athletes navigate through life after soccer,” Murray told HoustonDash.com. “For two months, I got a chance to see life outside the [soccer] bubble and it was incredible. 

The internship began with the players learning about the different roles at Anheuser-Busch in the morning and then attending a Risk Management course at Columbia University in the afternoons. They were then taken to several events, including Budweiser’s SAMCOM Conference in Houston and NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, to experience what Anheuser-Busch events looked like and how they were involved in the sports world. 

Returning to New York, each player was assigned a specific project tailored to their interested and their experience given on their resumes. Murray was placed on insights for an upcoming project Anheuser-Busch was looking to build in St. Louis while Groom’s focus was giving Budweiser a good idea of how to build their partnership with the NWSL itself. 

“It was a lot of idea creation and I also did a lot of analytics for the actual league and giving Budweiser a good starting point in terms of different moments they can activate with NWSL,” Groom explained of her project. “Everything that they expressed to me was really positive. It was just so cool hearing ‘This is so cool and you’re going to see this come to life.’” 

Referred to as the transition program, Anheuser-Busch’s internship supplies players like Groom and Murray a look at what their post-soccer career could look like. With soccer on the forefront of their mind for pretty much the whole yearthere isn’t much time to think about what comes next. In a sense, it was like they were playing soccer for the first time again, but just translating their skills into a working environment off the field. 

Groom said, “I’m one of those people that does like to look to the future and like to develop myself in other areas as wellTo be able to fully immerse and be put in a legitimate working environment was so far out of my comfort zone.” 

Murray echoed Groom’s sentiments “Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable,” was Satara’s biggest take away from the internship. “I think in order to achieve what you want in life, you have to step out of your comfort zone at some point.” 

On top of being able to experience a different working environment, Groom and Murray were also individually responsible for staying in shape and preparing themselves for the NWSL preseason. In Groom’s case, this offseason truly showed her what she’s capable of 

“I was waking up at like 5:30 in the morning, walking two miles to the gym, working out, like the full workout, and then working a full day and then going to play pickup after,” she said. “I think I walked out with such a great confidence and I think it’s a great lesson for any player.” 

Not only were these players training for their upcoming season, but they were also actively taking part in an internship with a major company. Groom, Murray and the other participants were finding ways to take the skills that helped them excel in the soccer world work in various settings and situations. They were able to build relationships and connections that will hopefully last long after the internship and may play a hand later down the road once the players’ hang up their boots for good. 

When asked on what the biggest lesson was from the whole experience, Murray said, “You can absolutely achieve anything you want to do, and it may not involve soccer or sports in general, but just know there is a world out there for you to go and be great in.” 

Photos courtesy of Shea Groom and Satara Murray