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Kingswood Oxford Senior Reflects on Internship with Hartford Athletic

KO senior Koby Braunstein of West Hartford finished an internship with Hartford Athletic doing everything from social media to player interviews and game recaps. Courtesy photo

Koby Braunstein, a senior at West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford School, shares his experience interning with Hartford Athletic.

Submitted by Kristen Weldon

Senior Koby Braunstein has always been passionate about sports. Watching them, playing them, researching them, reading about them. You name it. This past summer, he had an incredible opportunity to jump in feet first to the fast paced sports world by interning for Hartford Athletic, a professional soccer team based in Hartford.

Braunstein never expected to be as integral a part of the team as he quickly became. “I started in June interested in whatever they wanted me to do for them,” said Braunstein. “I wanted to be part of the team whether that was behind the scenes or on the front lines, and I ended up doing a lot of both.”

Braunstein immersed himself in everything they asked of him, working in the press box at Dillon Stadium amid the faced-paced world of sports communication. He was in charge of everything from the game recaps to tracking statistics and sending them to the news outlets like ESPN, and posting on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. He also interviewed the players for articles and through his work developed a rapport with them.

Admitted Braunstein, “I wasn’t sure what I expected going in but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He has been a long time fan of the team, invested in them since their inaugural season in 2019, often going to many of the games getting to know some of the players. “It was fun being able to be up close with professional soccer players from all over the world including from Africa, Europe and South America,” he said.

Braunstein’s boss at Hartford Athletic, John Ponziani, was a positive and impactful influence throughout the summer. Said Braunstein, “I would show him generally my ideas and he would let me run with them. He would say, ‘You be you. I am not going to hold you back in any way. Develop your style. If you make mistakes that’s OK just remember the best policy is honesty.”

When asked what advice he would give Braunstein said it was actually the same advice he has tried to follow himself: “Just telling it like it is. I struggle with this too. Sometimes I think we try to elongate things or expand on things when in reality you just need to stick with simplicity and get the information out there.”

Braunstein admits it was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but became easier over time. “I developed a relationship with the players and interviewing them became just like any other normal conversation.”

Braunstein’s interviews with the players would be posted to the team’s social media channels including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and the organization was always sure to credit his work. It was a fast-paced world and Braunstein was learning real time on the job. He shared one of the most nerve-wracking parts was writing the game recaps and being on a time crunch.

“I only had 45 minutes,” said Braunstein. “If a game ends around 9 p.m. and the news goes on at 10 p.m. the media would need it beforehand. During the game I would be working to do the statistics while watching every play so if there is anything important that I want to highlight I am able to.”

This urgent, looming deadline-driven writing was something that Braunstein had to get used to. “I am very meticulous and I think about every word. That is how I treat any writing assignment. I have high expectations.” He noted that Kingswood Oxford had prepared him well for all types of writing. He especially credits Ms. Scheffelin’s journalism class in particular for the skills to write all different types of articles and pivot in his style on a dime. Braunstein also writes for the KO News in their sports department.

“I got a chance to do what I love to do, what my passion is,” concluded Braunstein. “Write about sports, talk about sports, report sports. I didn’t expect this going into the internship and I realized what an incredible opportunity it was.”

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