Student Maurizio Valenti has been won over by Stirling life and will return for further study, having completed an MSc in Sport Management.
Sacrificing the scorching sun and gelato of his hometown of Reggio Calabria in southern Italy, the 23-year-old is now looking towards a PhD which will help support the development of women’s football in Europe.
Maurizio moved to Bridge of Allan in September 2015 and despite the tricky accent and unpredictable weather, has decided to stay in Scotland for a further three years.
He said: “I moved to Stirling from busy, metropolitan London. I didn’t know what to expect and although the weather is very different to Italy, the people here are so friendly and kind.
“I’m looking forward to continuing down an academic path and getting my PhD underway. Through my master’s degree I’ve learned so much that I will be able to apply to my research on women’s football programmes in Europe.”
Maurizio’s PhD subject has been influenced by a long-held love of the beautiful game. Having played from the age of five, the sport management student used his time at Stirling to help coach the University’s Futsal team – a fast-paced indoor five-a-side version of football. The squad won the British Universities and Colleges Sport league under his assistant management.
The Italian sports lover also supported his studies as a football consultant – watching matches around the world and collecting live statistics for an industry analytics company.
“Watching football games may sound like a dream job, and in fact – it is! It gave me the flexibility I needed around my studies and another chance to engage with the sport I love”, Maurizio explained.
“During the last year, I also helped to organise the 2016 Stirlympics. Our class worked with the Students’ Union to create a day-long event where sports teams took each other on in a series of novel sporting challenges. Putting on an event like that was a great, hands-on part of my course that I thoroughly enjoyed.
“Happily, my time at Stirling has not come to an end yet. Although this year has been quite challenging, it has helped me lay the foundations for the next steps and given me the chance to learn from the lecturers and research taking place on campus.
Dr Nicolas Scelles, Lecturer in Sport Management, will supervise Maurizio’s PhD alongside Mr Stephen Morrow. Dr Scelles said: “Maurizio is a student who is very curious intellectually, always suggesting different and original research ideas. Yet he is also very rigorous and has a great positive attitude.
“He is held in great esteem by other students, as well as the University’s support and academic staff and makes an effort to be involved in different aspects of University life. I’m very pleased to have him as my PhD student, having supervised his MSc dissertation, and I am sure he will excel in researching women's football in Europe.”