As the son of a physical education teacher, Langara student Andrew Kocicka was raised playing sports, but soccer was always his passion.
When it came time for him to choose a career path, he set his sights on working for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and this year, he pulled it off.
After years of volunteering and interning with the Whitecaps, Kocicka was hired by the team’s front office through a Langara co-op program as an account executive of inside sales in January.
Persistence paid off
Kocicka’s journey to the Whitecaps has been a struggle since he first joined Langara`s VOLT volunteer program during the first semester of his business program. Kocicka applied for five different positions with the club, but never got the job.
He continued to volunteer, managing the club’s ball boys, giving tours and doing whatever else he could to get his foot in the door and make connections with people in the organization.
“I kept getting rejected, which was fine because I got back up,” said Kocicka, in the conference room of the Whitecaps office in Gastown.
The Whitecaps have played in a number of divisions since 1974 but experienced rapid growth in popularity when they began playing in Major League Soccer in 2011, where they take on the best teams in Canada and the United States, such as the LA Galaxy.
“The club has gotten better and better ever year,” Kocicka said. “And I wanted to get in at ground level which I did, and now I want to work my way up.”
Work in Africa a chance to share soccer
Kocicka’s love for the sport goes beyond selling tickets and networking–in May 2013 he co-founded Freekicks Kenya with Whitecaps marketing intern and Langara alumnus Dean Tsatouhas.
The men went to Kisii, Kenya with $1,500 and donated soccer balls with the goal of inspiring the youth in the area to continue with education and to promote healthy communities.
Kocicka hopes to establish Freekicks Kenya as an official partner of the Freekicks organization, a non-profit organization that aims to bring soccer to communities around the world by providing them with equipment and coaching.
“I want to inspire people to do things they never thought [were] possible, that’s why Kenya was so important to me,” he said.
Reported by David La Riviere