Miguel Ángel Fernández: “In the digital world, keeping up with trends is vital!”

Above: Miguel Ángel on Operations Support duty with Lions Sports & Media

Versatile, hard-working and always full of ideas and enthusiasm, it was our pleasure to chat to Onuba Comms’ co-founder Miguel Ángel Fernández de Gracia – delving deeper into his background in sport and communications, his recent international football projects and being a “natural-born content creator”. 

Onuba Comms: So Miguel Ángel, when you co-founded Onuba, you had just finished working for Movistar Inter Fútbol Sala. Can you tell us about some of the best moments from those eight years, some key people you worked with and the biggest lessons you learned?

Miguel Ángel: Tough question, there are so many memories and special moments to look back on! It was eight years packed with learning and personal growth and there were loads of highlights I could pick out: the trophies won; the professional challenges overcome; and earning recognition from my colleagues and the wider futsal community. I think the biggest lesson I’d take is the importance of staying focused on your goals, whatever unexpected obstacles appear in your path.

When you’re in the thick of it you often don’t get time to really savour things, but as time goes by it’s fun to think about what you achieved and learned. At office level I’ve worked with futsal legends like Julio García Mera, Javi Lorente and Luis Amado, while I’ve shared great moments with players like Ricardinho, Carlos Ortiz, Rafael Rato, Tobe and Bateria, to name but a few. I’ve got brilliant memories of my time with them all.

OC: Like the other co-founders Nick Aitken & Guillermo Berenguer Ramiro, you combine being part of Onuba with work for other companies. What have your most interesting projects been in the past 2-3 years and why?

MA: I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of sports projects that helped me keep growing professionally. Without a doubt the biggest, in terms of magnitude and level of responsibility, was an Operations Support role with Lions Sports & Media, a sports marketing company that works with South American national sides, including Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Uruguay. I’ve worked alongside these national squads during their European tours and, in the case of Ecuador, it was particularly rewarding helping ensure they had a top-level tour experience prior to playing in the World Cup.

OC: You’ve worked in the world of sport as a press officer, community manager, content creator, graphic designer and more. What are the advantages to being so versatile? If you had to focus on just one role – what would it be?     

MA: It’s true, over the years I’ve been picking up different skills and always aiming to keep up with the latest trends. In the digital world it’s vital to stay up-to-date if you want to do an efficient and professional job in communications. Companies usually look for versatile professionals, but you also have to know yourself what your strongest qualities are. In my case, I think I’m a natural-born content creator – I love it. From first-hand experience I’d also highlight my work as a community manager.

Click here to connect with Miguel Ángel via LinkedIn 

OC: It is through your contacts in the world of futsal that Onuba have been able to work with icons of the game like Carlos Ortiz and Bateria. What might Carlos’s next steps be now he has retired? How do you think Bateria will get on now he’s moved to Italy?

MA: Carlos and Bate are two people with so much personality, charisma and empathy. I’ve no doubt at all that both of them are going to be successful in everything that they choose to do. Not long ago I messaged Carlos after he’d announced his retirement, thanking him for the great years we spent together and wishing him every success. He’s now involved in a very interesting project called WomanGoal, focused on finding and developing talented female footballers across the world and giving them the opportunity to try out for pro clubs in Spain. He’s also started the UEFA Executive Master for International Players, so he’s certainly keeping busy!

Above: Celebrating Inter’s 2016/17 LNFS title win with his good friend and futsal legend, Carlos Ortiz. (Photo ©SandritaFotera/MovistarInterFS)

For his part, Bateria knows what it’s like to play abroad, having done so in Spain, France and now Italy, and he’s someone who’s able to adapt seamlessly to his new surroundings. He’ll make the most of his time in Italy and I’m certain the fans there are really going to enjoy the way he plays futsal.

OC: Last but not least, you have an interesting background, having been born in Chile, grown up in Argentina, attended an English-speaking school and now living in Spain! How important have languages and communication been in your life?

MA: Crucial! I was hugely lucky to be able to start studying English at the same time as I was saying my first words in Spanish, my native tongue. I owe it all to my parents, for the educational values they instilled in me since I was a kid. Career-wise, speaking English has allowed me to overcome a lot of obstacles and open doors to opportunities that have meant a lot to me both personally and professionally. For example, when I was at Movistar Inter I was one of the best English speakers on our staff, which meant that I could get more involved whenever we played matches abroad or Inter hosted a major tournament alongside UEFA or FIFA.

Above: Visiting UEFA headquarters in Nyon ahead of being part of the organising committee of the UEFA Futsal Champions League in Guadalajara, Spain.

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee in question only.

Experts in sports translation and only using the best native-language translators, editors and copywriters, we at @onubacomms believe everyone in sport should have the opportunity to connect with their global audience. Mail nick@onuba-comms.com now for a free, no-obligation quote.

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