December 3, 2020

Webster tennis player shadows Chelsea soccer team while studying abroad

Kennedy on a tour of Stamford Bridge Stadium, home of Chelsea Football Club.

Kennedy on a tour of Stamford Bridge Stadium, home of Chelsea Football Club.

Junior Webster University tennis player Kathleen Kennedy, received the opportunity to do something she described as “an unbelievable experience.” Kennedy shadowed the marketing team at Chelsea Football (soccer) Club. Kennedy is studying abroad at Webster’s London campus this semester.
Kennedy said while hockey is her first love, the opportunity to use her marketing skills for any sport, especially a soccer team like Chelsea, was something she will not forget.
She received a tour of the stadium, executive office and press room.  She was also able to meet presidents of sponsorship, marketing and public relations.
Kennedy helped with game-day preparations and viewed Chelsea’s 5-10 year marketing plan. Kennedy watched Chelsea play from the sidelines with Marketing Executive Jon Scammell. Kennedy said she felt like she belonged when she walked into the team’s executive office.
“I’m still on a high from it just because of how great of an experience it was,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy was not able to work or volunteer with Chelsea because she does not have a work visa. But, the team is giving her the opportunity to come back Nov. 18-22 to learn about the differences between office responsibilities during the week and during game-day events.
“I’m pretty lucky to do this, I didn’t expect them to offer that to me,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy worked as a marketing and ticketing sales intern for the Chicago Bandits professional softball team last summer. She has also interned for the Jr. Blues, the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Blues professional hockey team.
Since she was a child, Kennedy said she wanted to work  for the National Hockey League (NHL). That dream, Kennedy said, grew from watching treasured Blackhawks games with her family.
“One thing people say is that I’m persistent,” she said. “I’ve had this dream and I won’t stop till I get it.”
Kennedy is the only girl in her sports-centered family besides her mom. Which meant Kennedy often played basketball and soccer with her brothers.
“When I was growing up, my mom always told me I never wanted to play with dolls or dress up, I wanted to be with the boys,” Kennedy said.
Her dad, Jeff Kennedy, a baseball coach for the Tinley Park Bulldogs traveling team, said out of his three children, Kathleen Kennedy is probably one of the biggest sports fanatics.
“Her and I attend a lot of the Hawks games and St. Louis Blues games. It’s something her and I started doing quite a few years ago,” Jeff Kennedy said. “When she gets back we’ll go to the games, so I’m looking forward to her returning home, we miss her a lot.”
Jeff Kennedy said he and his wife were both shocked and proud that Kathleen Kennedy took the initiative to contact Chelsea.
“Nothing stands in her way, whether as a competitor in tennis or her career,” Jeff Kennedy said.
Isabella Espinoza, Kathleen Kennedy’s teammate and suitemate her first year at Webster, said Kathleen Kennedy is an inspiration in life and for the team.
“She is not one who will kind of wait to be on the defensive,” Espinoza said. “She goes out there aggressive and will be more of a leader and lead the pace for the match.”
Webster Tennis Coach Martha Davis-Goldstein agreed that Kathleen Kennedy’s enthusiasm on the court is contagious, and that she is dedicated to the game and her teammates.
When Espinoza wasn’t able to go home to California during the holidays, Kathleen Kennedy invited her to her family’s home.
“I’m extremely proud to have her as such a good friend. She’s making things happen,” Espinoza said. “She shows that you don’t have to wait ‘till after graduation to make things happen, you can do it right now.”
Unfortunately, Kathleen Kennedy said it is difficult to find a hockey team in London. But, she plans to travel to Switzerland at the end of November to watch its professional hockey club, EHC Biel, play. Kennedy will meet with the marketing director of the team, as well.
Kathleen Kennedy will return to St. Louis Dec. 15. She said she already has an internship lined up with the St. Louis Blues as a marketing ambassador.
If Chelsea offered a position to Kathleen Kennedy after her May 2015 graduation she said she would probably take it. Although, she said, her love for St. Louis and Chicago would not make the decision easy.

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