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Fellowship helps York alumna shape the future of sports leadership

Fellowship helps York alumna shape the future of sports leadership

From an early age, York alumna, Stephanie Morales Arevalo (IBBA ’23), developed a strong passion for soccer. Growing up in Vaughan, Ontario, she played soccer locally and fell in love with the sport. It was this love for soccer that helped carve her path to becoming the recipient of the 2024 TFC x BMO Women in Soccer Fellowship, a program built for self-identifying women with a dream of working in sports management and becoming a leader in the game of soccer. Through this fellowship, Stephanie will aim to utilize her passion for soccer and contribute to shaping the future for women in sports leadership roles.  

Stephanie Morales Arevalo (IBBA ’23)

“Everyone who grew up playing sports competitively wants to be an athlete – everyone wants to be a professional – but not everyone will be,” says Stephanie. “It’s all about finding ways to get into the industry, but from a different angle.”  

At this one-year fellowship, she will gain a grassroots understanding of all the details in running a sports organization across various levels.  

“Every day is a little different,” says Stephanie. “My rotation is currently in business operations, but I interact with people across all departments and will have different responsibilities as the fellowship progresses. What’s great about this fellowship is that it offers so much exposure to so many different people. You can pick their brains and learn about other sides of the organization.” 

Stephanie attributes much of her success to the Tourism Sport and Leisure Marketing course she took while at York. The industry-centric approach in this class, deployed by Marketing Instructor, Vijay Setlur, gave her valuable experience that led her towards her current career path. 

“Throughout the course, I was able to observe different projects, activations and ways in which fans could be engaged,” says Stephanie. “For one of the projects, we had the opportunity to work with a client, and my client was Impact! Wrestling. I didn’t have a strong background in professional wrestling, but I was able to give a compelling marketing pitch to them and I received very positive feedback. That experience was a motivating factor for me to work in the sports management industry and realize that this was the career I wanted.” 

While a student at York, Stephanie participated in an exchange program during the last semester of her fourth year that allowed her to study abroad in Paris, France. Stephanie recalls the valuable experiences she gained while studying abroad that she has applied in her new role. 

“I had the opportunity to do an internship with Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) in Paris – the organization that manages the French professional leagues,” says Stephanie. “My sports marketing professor forwarded me a connection that happened to be in the field I was looking for, and in the city I was in, then things began to fall into place. The internship gave me a glimpse into what life could look like with a career in sports.” 

Stephanie will look to build on her experience and is looking forward to new and exciting opportunities within the fellowship.  

“I started out with an interest in global partnerships, but with this fellowship, many more doors have opened into other departments,” says Stephanie. “Here at TFC, we like to promote the ‘All for One’ mentality, and you can really see that through the team culture around here and across all levels. Going forward, I am excited to learn about the processes behind departments such as, game presentation, media communications, team operations and getting in on a lot of different conversations.