MEET THE ELITE – AISTS ALUMNI MARELY FLORES, FIFA
NAME: Marely Flores
AISTS CLASS: 2008
POSITION: Women’s Football Tournament Manager at FIFA
In our latest AISTS Alumni spotlight we catch up with Marely Flores, Women’s Football Tournament Manager at FIFA and the new AISTS Alumni Committee President.
Marely’s dream was always to work in football; a dream that came true a few years after completing her Master of Advanced Studies in Sport Administration and Technology back in 2008.
“I don’t know where my passion for football came from, but it is something that has always been there,” Marely says. “Growing up in Mexico I watched every single match of the championships and I knew all the players. Working in football was my dream.”
It was that dream the ultimately led Marely to Lausanne, Switzerland to study with the AISTS.
“The MAS program was truly one of the best years of my life,” she says. “In my hometown, I was the only one who loved sport to that extent. But at AISTS I was surrounded by people that shared that passion. It turned out to be the exact platform that I needed to get into the sports industry, and I learned so much about every aspect of sports management and the Olympic movement.”
The twists and turns of working in sport
Like many people who decide to transition careers, Marely’s journey hasn’t taken a linear path.
Before deciding to study her Masters she had a successful career organising seasons of chamber music concerts to audiences across Mexico. The skills she learned ended up being invaluable.
“Although it was a completely different industry, those years taught me so much,” she says. “The skills have been completely transferable into the sports industry, particularly within operations.”
After graduating from AISTS Marely worked for almost four years as Events and Tournaments Manager at AIBA (International Boxing Association). But football was still calling her.
“I’d been promoted three times during my time at AIBA and loved my job,” says Marely. “But football was still calling to me. It was then that I decided – for the second time in my life – to quit it all. I was willing to start from scratch.”
Marely moved to Costa Rica for a month to volunteer in Venue Operations at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. The decision was a smart one and on return Marely was offered a six-month contract in Match Operations for UEFA.
But it was early 2016 when the dream she was waiting for came to fruition – Women’s Football Tournaments Manager at FIFA.
“Everything I’d done – the Masters, the work experience, the language skills – it all combined perfectly,” says Marely. “And I love what I am doing now. I get to interact with people from different countries and travel all over the world doing different projects.”
A new role as AISTS Alumni Committee President
In December 2019 Marely took on a new challenge – becoming AISTS Alumni president. In December 2019 she takes over from Nikki Symmons who has been at the helm for the past three years.
“I’d seen the advertisement and was considering it. And then I bumped into Claude (Stricker – AISTS Executive Director) at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and started considering it more seriously,” she explains. “I graduated 11 years ago and for some years I was trying to find my way. But now it felt like the right time to get more involved.”
With a team of AISTS Alumni including Nikki, Bruna Di Napoli, Alexandre Dias, and Andrea Marcellini, Marely plans to build on the great work done by Nikki and the rest of the committee. The team has also been supported by Tina Sharma and Thomas Roos as reps for 2018’s class.
Being based in Zurich and not in Lausanne, one of the main objectives that she has is to build the network outside of the immediate vicinity of the Olympic Capital. AISTS has alumni globally, and finding ways to make everyone feel involved and connected is a top priority.
“I never actually expected to be elected,” says Marely. “But I am happy that I was, and now I am very much looking forward to the journey.”