Student Spotlight: Joe Sprunger

Graceland publication, writing and design major Joe Sprunger

Joe Sprunger ’18 is a publication, writing and design major. In anticipation of his senior year, Joe took advantage of the summer to combine two of his passions, photography and soccer.

Joe found an internship with a soccer team in Des Moines. While this internship was a lot of hard work, he also found it left him with many good memories.

Who was your internship with, and what was your title?

“Des Moines Menace, and I was a soccer operations intern.”

What were a few of your duties during the internship?

“One of the coolest things I had the opportunity to do was travel with the team. It wasn’t just a vacation though; I was the only front office staff on most of these trips. On the road, I had to plan all the meals, stops and hotel arrangements. If something went wrong I had to figure it out, and while this was all going on I’d be running the social media accounts. I also had a few game day roles to fulfill. First thing on my plate was making sure we had all of our equipment. Myself and one other person would then take care of the locker room set-up. As soon as all that was sorted I’d have to switch into game mode. While the game was going on, I was the Promotional lead as well as the photographer.”

How did you end up making the connections that led you to this internship?

“I think the biggest factor in me getting this internship was just being friendly. I was initially involved only to watch a few of my friends from GU play against them. After the game, I offered to help a guy carry some boxes to his car. I learned he worked for CISN, and after hearing that I liked to take photos, he invited me to take some at the next game. While shooting that game, I found myself behind the post in the right place to capture the game winning goal. The general manager of the team asked to see it, and he liked it so asked me to come back for the rest of the season to take photos. After that, it was staying in touch with the management and helping wherever I was needed.”

What are some of your favorite memories from this summer?

“Honestly, the entire summer was amazing. I made so many new friends and fun memories. One particular memory that sticks out was playing cards with the players in a laundromat in Winnipeg, Canada. There was this massive ordeal to convert all my American money to Canadian coins, run to the supermarket to buy detergent while the players were waiting with the laundry, then sit and wait for the laundry to finish. We sent out a message to the rest of the team in a group chat, and four more players showed up to play card. This memory sticks with me because of how quick the players were to lend a helping hand and just how normal it all seemed to be sitting there with the boys in a strange new town doing laundry.

Joe and Ivan

I was also able to meet Ivan Rakitic. As a club, we were able to bring in the Barcelona player to help run a weekend camp. It was amazing to see him work with our youth program and cheer on our team during our game Saturday night.”

What did this internship teach you for the future?

“It taught me how important it is to be independent on the job. What’s in your job description isn’t necessarily what your job is. When you are working with a small staff, your job is whatever needs to be done. I found myself in a lot of high stress situations where I didn’t have time to ask questions. Even if I did, everyone else had their own job to do. I learned how important it is to manage your time. Everything is based off of your priorities; every day you need to go in and make list of what needs to get done. If you just focus on things as they come you are never going to make it.”