CMM student covers World Cup using UticaTV credentials


CMM student Andres Jaime Mendez interviewing for Costa Rican media at the Qatar World Cup in November 2022.

Brady Barnard, Contributing Writer

In November, the FIFA World Cup took place in Qatar and freshman communication and media major Andres Jaime-Mendez was able to attend the event as a member of the media.

Jaime-Mendez, who is from San Diego and is majoring in sports journalism, arrived in Qatar on Nov. 18 and, thanks to communication and media professor Laura Lewin, he was able to obtain a press pass using UticaTV credentials. The pass granted him access to broadcast studios around Doha and gave him filming permits.

He attended ten matches, one of those matches being a United States game. The World Cup tournament, held every four years, consists of men’s national soccer teams and determines the sport’s world champion. 

“It was surreal to be at another World Cup and have the opportunity to be able to see the world’s greatest players on display in front of my very eyes,” he said. “They’re my idols, the guys I grew up watching, and there is no event more special to me that I could possibly attend.”

Jaime-Mendez had 24-hour access to the downtown media center where top bloggers, influencers and international figures all met in a modern media hub.

“A benefit I received from having a press pass was access to Media Broadcast Studios across the city, where members from the Associated Press, ESPN, FOX Sports, and more would film their live shows,” he said. “I was able to interview fans from different countries including Qatar, and would regularly talk to anyone I could.”

According to Jaime-Mendez, he learned a lot from the conversations he had, making him realize how much passion different parts of the world have for soccer.

One of the standout events was when Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina. He went into the street to talk to emotional fans and was struck by how devastated they were by Argentina’s loss. 

“Most of them felt like it was the collapse of Argentina,” he said. “That was one of the big takeaways from the World Cup and stayed in the news for weeks.”

Lewin said she became excited when Jaime-Mendez told her she was planning on attending the first week of the World Cup. He is already an active freshman on campus and in the Utica area, working as an analyst and color commentator during Utica City FC games and is host of UticaTV’s Overtime show. 

“He asked if UticaTV would write a letter so he could apply to obtain media credentials,” Lewin said. ”I was more than happy to do that for him since he is a member of UticaTV and the host of our weekly Overtime show.”

Jaime-Mendez said he felt like with all the help he received from the professors at Utica, he owed it to the program to turn his trip into a learning opportunity for the school. He wants to share what he learned about different cultures and fans from around the world.

Jaime-Mendez is no stranger to traveling for soccer. This was his third World Cup and compared to the others he went to, this one was by far the greatest. He explained that with the culture of Qatar, the tournament was a truly eye-opening experience. While enjoying the games, he was able to learn about many other cultures, and converse with many different people. The compassion of every fan was greater than the language barrier, allowing everyone to find common ground and celebrate the tournament together. 

“I want to thank everyone that was a part of UticaTV during the fall semester, with a special shoutout to Professor Laura Lewin, and a huge thank you to all the new viewers and fans of Utica that shared their thoughts and feelings with me in Qatar,” Jaime-Mendez said. 

He hopes to share more of his experience with Utica TV soon.