When opportunity knocked for soccer player Joey Catrino, little did he know it would lead him on a journey halfway across the world.
Catrino, a 2004 Valparaiso graduate, was a senior at Aurora University in 2008 when he interviewed with what is now Feld Entertainment, a Disney licensee which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, Disney Live! and Monster Jam. He said the monster truck "Grave Digger" was in Portage a few years ago for a promotion.
Catrino is currently a regional marketing manager for Feld in Southeast Asia.
"I thought it was selling motocross equipment," Catrino said. "I figured I'd try it and if it didn't work out, at least I would have some experience.
"I wanted to one day work for the Fire, White Sox, or Bulls."
Catrino said he went to the interview and the rest is history. He started flying to cities like Anaheim, San Diego and New Orleans on Fridays and returning on Sundays, while going to school full time Monday through Thursday.
"It was great because I certainly got a good taste of the business," he said. "It was not just selling motocross equipment."
He said he likes the marketing aspect of his job.
"I'm in charge of getting people to our shows," Catrino said. "That means working with radio, TV, Internet and newspapers to put ads in and appeal to people. It is getting people in the seats.
"We want to make our shows as successful as possible."
He has been in Singapore just four weeks and was previously regional manager of event marketing and sales of the West Division.
"It is a great position and I enjoy it because you also get to work with a lot of different people," Catrino said. "I have not been in Asia that long, but it is a great opportunity to learn the different customs of the various nations."
He said it was something he never thought about as a kid.
"When I was little, going to Chicago was a big deal," Catrino said. "I lived a little bit of a sheltered life, so I didn't travel around a lot."
Catrino coached several soccer clubs in United States including the west suburban-based Strikers Soccer Club. At Aurora, he was part of a turnaround which saw the Spartans make the NCAA Division III tournament in 2006.
At Valparaiso, he played under Danny Jeftich and said it was a great experience.
"Coach Jeftich was my coach growing up and he taught me a lot about the game and teamwork," Catrino said. "We had a lot of fun and a lot of success at Valparaiso."