Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Ryan Sweet, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and currently of Lakeland, Florida, works hard to sell out a stadium every day, trying to bring his organization to the top of the professional soccer league.
Ryan is the assistant general manager of the new professional indoor soccer team, the Florida Tropics. The Tropics will be playing in the Indoor Professional League (IPL). He previously worked with the St. Louis Ambush in the Major Arena Soccer League, where he showed what he could do and was the leading ticket sales representative in his first year as a sales executive for the Ambush. The Ambush would go on to post one of the top three attendances in the league during Ryan’s time with the organization.
“The most exciting thing about working in sport management is that I get to work in professional sports. You never know who you will meet, or what you will get to do next,” he says. “Plus, everybody loves going to a sporting event, but I get to experience that excitement every day and be a part of what makes those sporting events run.”
Ryan is new to the assistant general manager position but not new to the game.
“At the time I accepted the Assistant GM job with the Florida Tropics, I had already built a good relationship with the owner of the team,” he says. “This relationship, and the experience I had put in during the previous season in St. Louis, was a big part of the reason I was offered and accepted the job here in central Florida.”
Ryan knows that there is a lot of work to be done.
“Working in the sport industry is a lot of fun, but there is also plenty of work to be done. An average work week usually consists of 45-55 hours during the off-season, with even more when the season kicks off,” he says. “The people that I meet and the experiences I have had in this industry make it all worth it, though.”
At Southeast, Ryan earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in sport management and a minor in business administration.
Ryan says he chose Southeast because it was close to home and the program was renowned.
“I chose to attend Southeast because they have one of the only accredited sport management programs in the country,” he says. “Talking to people in that field, I heard nothing but good things about the program. The fact that it was close to home was also a big factor.”
His favorite memory at Southeast was Homecoming.
“Being able to see everyone come together, and alumni come back to town, always made that weekend lot of fun. I’m looking forward to coming back for Homecoming as often as possible,” he said.
In his free time, Ryan can be found watching his favorite sports teams.
“I always enjoy going to a St. Louis Cardinals game. Watching the Cardinals when I was younger, and going to games with family and friends, was one of the big reasons that I decided I wanted to work in sports in the first place,” he says.
To Southeast students, Ryan offers this advice: “Always keep connections with people that you meet. Stay in touch with the friends that you’ve made during your years at Southeast because many of those friends you will keep for the rest of your lives. Also, enjoy your time in college, because it definitely goes by fast,” he says.