United States Sports Academy Instructor Says Teaching in United Arab Emirates Football Academy an “Awesome Experience”


Kimberly Willis

A United States Sports Academy instructor who recently taught as part of the Academy’s program to enhance the training of administrators in football (soccer) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said she had an “awesome experience.”

“It was great being able to teach students across the world and to learn their culture,” said Dr. Kimberly Willis. “They were able to learn from me and I was able to learn from them.”

Willis traveled to Dubai in March for one week of intensive teaching of the Sports Marketing and Media class to students in the Football Association Academy (FAA).

The Academy recently began this new project to play a role in the development of football administrators in the UAE through a Football Club Operators License Program in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates Football Association (UAEFA). The agreement between the Academy, its Emirati colleagues and the UAEFA led to the development of the Football Association Academy for Sports Management (FAASM), better known as the Football Association Academy (FAA).

This effort includes football certification programs that offer professional preparation and training designed to meet the needs of coaches, athletes, administrators and operatives at all levels in the UAE football club system. The first classes for the FAA began in February of this year. The curriculum covers subjects including Sports Administration, Sports Marketing, Sports Media, and Facility and Event Management.

“I really enjoyed working with the students, some of whom are marketing professionals and managers at their respective professional soccer clubs,” Willis said. “They will be able to use the things we discussed to help their clubs.

“Our students worked to develop a sports marketing plan to market their respective teams, which involved a lot of teamwork. We talked about target markets: who you are marketing to and how to reach your target audience.

“We talked about media relations and how to use the media as a tool to market the sport and the team,” Willis added.

“We also talked a lot about social media. In the United States, for instance, a lot of emphasis is placed on social media to promote sports, and the same is starting to happen in the United Arab Emirates, so we were able to talk about how to best use social media to promote soccer there.

“Everything was ‘hands-on’ and my students were involved in a lot of real world examples.

“My students are very proud of their soccer clubs and they want them to be successful. The students are just great.

“Teaching in the United Arab Emirates was an awesome experience and I definitely would love to go back.”

Willis, who resides in North Carolina, received her bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her master’s in sport administration and her Ph.D. in sport management from Florida State University. She has taught at Florida State and the University of Washington.

Willis is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cor’Rae Management Agency, manager for professional clients in the entertainment industry; founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cor’Rae Cosmetics; and founder and President of a non-profit organization, The Pettaway & Willis Foundation, Inc.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.