A Posting from South Africa: Starting a Business Career at an International Sports Event

May 27, 2010

South Africa

Richard Maclachlan, ’10, an international business major and former student-athlete, returned to his native South Africa after commencement for a summer job that all soccer fans must envy.

The former Lions tennis player is working as a “head guide” for the international flag and ball bearer program for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament. FIFA is the acronym for the Swiss Federation Internationale de Football Association, the worldwide governing body for football, or soccer, as the game is known in the United States. Maclachlan had previously secured an internship with Matchworld, a leading sponsorship management company in South Africa that is heavily involved in the World Cup through its client, Coca-Cola, a leading sponsor of the 2010 World Cup. He dealt with celebrities, and with radio promotions and other events to bring the excitement of the tournament to fans who cannot afford to attend the games. That internship paved the way for Maclachlan to return for another work opportunity this summer.

Now, on behalf of the Coca-Cola youth program, Maclachlan is managing 240 youths from all over the world. These young people carry the FIFA flags and country flags during ceremonial portions of the game, and handle game balls that are positioned around the field as needed during the course of a match. Maclachlan wrote in an e-mail from South Africa that “It is a dream for millions to set forth on the field, to touch the greener grass and meet players. This is what I will be doing for 32 days of the World Cup.”

To add to the thrill, his particular work assignment is in a beautiful location, according to information supplied to prospective visitors. The tournament uses multiple playing sites, and MacLachlan is based at the Moses Mabhida Stadium (pictured) in Durban, a city that is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and enjoys beach weather for most of the year. The stadium, which will host the semi-finals and some group games, is a new facility with seating for 70,000, views of the city and the shoreline, and a pedestrian walkway leading to the beach.

After the World Cup, the Saint Leo graduate plans to return to Florida and pursue longer-range career options.

For more information on the World Cup, click here: www.fifa.com/worldcup/.