A.J. Nelson is embarking on an experience of a lifetime this summer.
When the 2012-13 UCF men’s soccer season begins in August, Nelson will have spent a month in London as an intern for NBC covering the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Entering his senior year with the Knights, Nelson is diving into the world of sports broadcasting.
A passionate soccer player for a program with high expectations, Nelson has a passion that extends beyond just playing sports, and things fell into place for him to pursue a new venture.
The Players Championship, part of the PGA Tour, is held in Nelson’s hometown of Ponte Vedra. A friend of Nelson’s brought up the idea of pursuing a production assistant role for the tournament. Little did Nelson know, that opportunity would be just the beginning.
“The concept of being an intern for the Olympics came up while I was there," Nelson said. “I applied and went through the whole interview process.”
For every college student, agreeing to unpaid work is both rewarding and risky.
However, building your credentials is just as important as achieving a degree — something Nelson took into consideration.
“It’s going to be a great experience, well worth it, and it’s going to look great on my résumé,” Nelson said. “It will eventually pay itself off.”
As part of the production crew for NBC, Nelson will be logging highlights that occur throughout the Olympic events.
When something noteworthy happens, it will be his job to notate and reference where in the broadcast it is located for production.
“I’ll be working in the International Broadcast Center, so I’ll be covering several sports,” Nelson said.
Much like highlights you see on sports news, loggers have a tough assignment. If Nelson looks away for a second or two he could miss a game changer.
Wrapping up a degree in finance, Nelson is beginning to discover his passion for sports broadcast and hopes to continue pursuing it.
“It’s something that sort of fell in my lap as an opportunity,” Nelson said. “I chose finance because I knew it would be a smart thing to go to college for. But, being a soccer player at UCF, I love sports and I am very into them. If I had the opportunity to make it a career, I would never turn it down.”
While recognizing how much this will mean to his career on and off the field, the chance to see the world is just as important to Nelson.
“It’ll be cool to see how every country shows up and represents their team. How excited they are for their country,” Nelson said. “I think it will be a really great experience to bring back with my whole soccer thing so I remember to cherish it. A lot of people would love to be doing what I’m doing. Just to be around all the excitement and feeling over there, it’ll be really cool.”
What awaits Nelson after his return from London is the beginning of a soccer season he is “more excited about than ever.”
The Knights made the NCAA Tournament last fall and advanced to the second round before falling to USF.
“We really think we have the chance to make a run at a national championship. One game at a time, though,” Nelson said. “I don’t have any personal goals and just want to do whatever is good for the team.
“You can hear it in my voice. I’m really excited to get all of this going.”