Every day in the life of a football agent is different – this is what makes the profession so unique and so exciting. There are many aspects that make up the essential tasks of an intermediary in the modern game of football.
The most well-known parts of the job are transfers and contracts, which require much work. It is rare that any deal (even if it is completed towards the end of the window) hasn’t been the subject of talks between the agent of the player and representatives of the club for weeks, if not months. Therefore, it is crucial for you to be constantly monitoring the needs of clubs in case a player you represent (or have a mandate for) fits the requirements as you see them. This research could be as easy as looking up when key players are ‘out of contract’ or simply knowing what teams are lacking position-wise.
Another important role as an agent is trying to secure your client sponsorship deals, as the best agents will be trying to make deals on behalf of their client off the pitch. This is where having a very strong network of contacts is crucial. Reaching out to brands and companies that may be a good fit for your player can provide you with the opportunity to secure an endorsement and therefore another source of income besides the standard playing contract.
Overall, you just have to be there for whatever your client needs. Providing support (in whatever way necessary) whilst doing smart business is what great agents do every day. If you can learn and understand this, then you can succeed in the industry.
All football agents have their own style, and their own way of doing things. However, there are certain characteristics that many share, and that aspiring agents should try and portray. Amongst the most important traits are loyalty and trust. In order for a client to allow you to negotiate deals on their behalf, they have to trust you and believe that you’ll do what is best for them, and not act selfishly.
Some agents (when negotiating contracts with clubs) ask what their commission is first. Good agents do not do this, instead good agents get the best deal possible for the player and then work out the commission. You always have to work out of the best interests for your player, as you are the one representing them. Especially when dealing with younger players, this includes getting the trust and respect of their parents, who are essentially allowing you to work so closely alongside their child.
In addition, football agents have to be hard-working and willing to sacrifice. No agent ever has it easy from the start, and you have to work as hard as possible in order to be successful in this tough industry. Make the most out of every meeting, every contact and every day - if you do so, then that will only put you on the right path. Be sure to create the next opportunity for your client, and don’t just wait around for somebody to approach you! At the end of the day, the best agents are the ones managing everything for their player - from contracts to sponsorships, you should be the one making things happen. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let others in however, as utilising your network and experts in different fields is a key skill too.
Breaking into the industry is often what aspiring agents find most difficult. However, there is no set way to becoming a football agent and there are many routes into the profession. Often, agents have experience in many different industries, for example a legal or financial background, teaching, coaching, marketing and more! To try and get into the football world, it is common to apply for internships or work experience at large agencies or companies involved in sport. Alternatively, you can apply for jobs at these same firms, or even make one yourself if you already have a client. When getting started, it is important to use your network wisely, and this means reaching out to a contact in the industry if you have one, who can help get you underway. Use your strengths and knowledge to your advantage to try and work your way towards the football business world.
A good way to go about getting your first client is by scouting youth and lower league fixtures. Whilst you must always be wary of the rules and regulations surrounding youth players, often the first player you represent will be young and eager to work their way to the top divisions. Going to as many games as possible (and seeing a variety of teams) shows your desire to make your mark in the industry.
To learn more on the world of football agency, visit www.footballagenteducation.com
You can purchase the book ‘How to Become a Football Agent: The Guide’ and keep up-to-date with all the latest news and tips from within the industry.
Article by Charlie Pentol-Levy, Director of Football Agent Education.