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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Rivera always learning with Chicago Fire

  • Geneseo graduate Alli Rivera has always been involved in sports, and now has turned her love of sports into a career.
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  • Geneseo graduate Alli Rivera has always been involved in sports, and now has turned her love of sports into a career.
    Rivera, a 2008 Geneseo High School graduate and 2013 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, is serving as an account executive with the Chicago Fire soccer team after completing an internship with the Chicago Bulls.
    Rivera graduated from UW-Green Bay, where she was a member of the school’s softball team, with degrees in communications with emphasis in public relations and Spanish, along with a minor in international business.
    With the Chicago Fire, Rivera has a variety of duties including working with season ticket holders and answering any questions they may have to helping with events put on by the team, and making sure the players are ready for their appearances. She also writes newsletters for season ticket holders.
    Rivera started her job with the Fire on Feb. 3, 2014, and she said her account group this year generated more than $2 million.
    “I applied for jobs with the Chicago Fire, Miami Dolphins and Miami Marlins, and got offered all three jobs,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I could live in Miami, and I didn’t know much about soccer so I decided to try it with the Fire. It has ended up being the best decision.”
    While soccer isn’t a sport Rivera is too familiar with, she is learning more and more about the sport.
    “Soccer has more passionate fans, who are crazy and are always cheering,” she said. “You don’t see that at any other sporting event. The fans really take the sport to heart. It is more than just a game. They really care. The players do, too; and they really care about their fans.”
    Aside from her office work, Rivera also works during the games making sure things are running smoothly and answering any questions that might arise.
    “I really enjoy the idea of learning a sport I had zero interest in prior to working there,” she said. “It is a constant learning experience, and I am learning something new every day.”
    Because she didn’t know much about soccer, Rivera said the most challenging part of her job has been communicating in soccer terms with others about what happened in the game.
    Rivera said with the recent World Cup excitement, the Fire has seen a 6 percent increase in attendance and ticket sales are up 24 percent.
    “It is just crazy the amount of turnover the World Cup has,” she said.
    Prior to working for the Chicago Fire, Rivera was an intern with the Chicago Bulls where she worked as an inside sales intern.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I was surprised, with the history of the Bulls, that the organization was such a close-knit group. It was like working as part of a family.”
    In her internship, she helped organize and volunteer for different events throughout the season. She also job shadowed in the public relations department, which she said was a very good learning experience.
    “I got to interview Bulls player DJ Augustin, which was a highlight,” she said. “After the game, they threw me into the locker room and told me to go find him and get the interview, so that was an experience.”
    Rivera said there were so many good things about her internship, which included playing on the Bulls home floor, and meeting players like Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Bulls’ players Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and former Bulls’ player Luol Deng.
    She said the first time she met Rose she was star struck and tried not to act like an “idiot,” but realized Rose is “just a human being.” “He is very shy and quiet like anybody else,” she said.
    “It was definitely hard work, but it definitely paid off,” said Rivera. “The position with the Bulls was a high-demand internship and was challenging. I was more than ready to jump into this experience with the Fire because of my internship.”
    During her internship Rivera got involved with volunteering, which led to a spot on the junior board at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
    “This has definitely been the best decision I made and has led to amazing opportunities,” she said. “It is an experience no one will ever understand unless they go through it themselves.”
    Rivera’s future plans include staying in the sports arena and includes some day working in the head office of the NBA, MLS or MLB or to become the chief operating officer of a team.
     

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