Published on December 15, 2022 by Morgan Black
Darin White, professor of marketing and executive director of Samford University’s Center for Sports Analytics, has had a new editorial piece published by The Gospel Coalition. The article, “Pushing Back Darkness in the Beautiful Game” explains the dark side of professional soccer.
The article states, “Whether you know it as ‘soccer’ or ‘football,’ the ‘beautiful game’ is so called because of its ability to bring diverse people groups together. But among all the beauty of the world’s game, there exists an ugly, dark side. Every year thousands of children, primarily from African countries, are recruited by unlicensed scouts and agents and promised the opportunity to travel to Europe to play for major soccer clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona, and Juventus. Families often leverage everything they own to help their sons pursue soccer stardom. However, most of these teenagers don’t make it onto a top professional team, leaving them to fend for themselves in a foreign country with little to no money.”
In the article, White interviews Ben Boycott, founder of Sovereign Football Club, managing director of Trivela Group and director of the Walsall Football Club, about the innovative strategies he and others are using to bring about meaningful change for thousands of young African soccer players and their families.
During the spring 2023 semester, White and several students studying in Samford’s sports marketing and analytics program will be working on a project for the Walsall Football Club to help them improve the revenue generating functions within the organization.
White said, “It’s incredible work that Ben and his colleagues are doing to bring change to the world of professional soccer. I am so thrilled that our students will have the chance to work with him on a special project for the Walsall F.C. To be a small part of his work will be a lifechanging experience for our students.”
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.