Sonja leads the way: UEFA opens exclusive UEFA CFM spot to EURO 2024 volunteers 

May 24, 2024

In partnership with UEFA’s Volunteer Programme, UEFA is thrilled to offer one exceptional volunteer the opportunity to join the prestigious UEFA Certificate in Football Management (UEFA CFM). This exclusive spot will be awarded to a dedicated individual who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and passion during their volunteer work at UEFA EURO 2024. This initiative aims to reward and develop volunteering contributors, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to ascend into professional football management roles.

Sonja, a UEFA EURO 2020 volunteer and now women coaches development expert at UEFA, was the lucky beneficiary of the UEFA CFM program after the last UEFA EURO. We sat down with her and she highlighted the profound impact this initiative had, transforming volunteer enthusiasm into professional expertise. 

  1. What inspired you to apply for the UEFA CFM? 

“Football is my world, my passion and my social environment. I have worked in football my whole career – as a player, coach and volunteer. As a match volunteer at UEFA EURO 2020 in Munich, I had the privilege of learning from the best how world-class football matches are organised. That sparked the desire to learn more from the best practitioners in the football business. When I learned that UEFA had decided to give a EURO 2020 volunteer a place on the UEFA CFM, it felt like the logical next chapter in the volunteer journey. Learning never stops. I am always looking for ways to evolve, learn and connect with people. But to progress, you also need to step out of your comfort zone, evaluate and reflect on your work, to invest in yourself. The UEFA CFM brings all of that together.”

  1. Can you describe your experience during the application process? What were the steps and challenges you faced? 

“UEFA decided to offer one volunteer a spot for the third UEFA CFM open edition as part of the EURO 2020 legacy. As there were around 12,000 volunteers at EURO 2020, my first thought was that the likelihood of being selected was marginal. However, taking a closer look at the application criteria made me quite confident I might have a realistic chance. I knew that I needed to make my application stand out. I wanted to give it my all, so I invested quite a lot of time in making my application convincing and I also needed a few attempts to make sure my video was appealing. But it was worth it! Then it went quite quickly. I was invited for an interview and then finally selected to take part in the UEFA CFM.”

  1. How do you expect this programme to help you in your current role at UEFA and in your future career? 

“I think learning is a lifelong process. I have experienced football from a lot of different angles. The UEFA CFM helped expand my knowledge of the inner workings of the game, broaden my perspectives and reflect on my own work. Of course, that’s useful in my current role, but also prepares me for anything that might come along in the future.”

  1. What advice would you give other volunteers interested in the programme? 

“Generally, I believe that all volunteers have some valuable prerequisites – the love of the game, the curiosity to meet people from various backgrounds, countries and cultures, and the motivation to pursue priceless experiences and memories. If, on top of that, they bring experience in the sports industry and a willingness to learn, progress and invest in their own development, the UEFA CFM is a great way to open doors and unleash potential.”

  1. Could you highlight any specific insights or lessons from the programme that have had a significant impact on your understanding of football management and its industry dynamics? 

“There is no better way to improve than by rubbing shoulders with inspiring people. The UEFA CFM is a fantastic platform to benefit from the knowledge and experience of UEFA experts, industry leaders and other fellow football enthusiasts. Everyone I met added to my understanding of how the football world ticks  – from grassroots to professional, from non-profit to commercial – in Europe and all over the world.”

In offering this opportunity, UEFA reaffirms its dedication to the invaluable role of volunteers within the football community. Sonja’s journey from volunteer to professional within UEFA exemplifies the transformative potential of this initiative. It is designed not only to recognise the hard work and passion of volunteers but also equip them with the skills they need to make significant contributions to football management.  

As UEFA paves the way for passionate volunteers to excel in football management, now is the time for aspiring individuals to step forward, seize this opportunity, and embark on a journey towards shaping the future of football. A volunteer infomail will be sent out to all UEFA EURO 2024 volunteers shortly, explaining the application and selection process.

If you’d like to know more about the UEFA Certificate in Football Management, please visit the link here: