Before you Reach Out to Agents
Do you need a soccer agent?
Not every player does.
Especially if you are just starting out, there may not be a benefit to signing with an agent. If you are already in negotiations with a club, you may be better off speaking with an attorney to review the proposed contract than to sign an agent to do so on your behalf.
I ALWAYS RECOMMEND THAT BEFORE YOU SIGN ANY CONTRACT, YOU HAVE AN ATTORNEY REVIEW IT FOR YOU.
Beware the False Agent
It is easy to claim you are an agent. There are a lot of scammers out there who are happy to take your money and give you promises of opportunities to be seen.
You should NEVER pay an agent any money. A legitimate agent will be paid from the club or promotional company that hires you.
Another inherent danger young players face is that unless they are the product of a top European Academy, many agents at established agencies may not want to risk signing them. You might get lucky and find a young hungry agent who is willing to work hard on your behalf, but how many other young players are they trying to offer up to clubs? There are many instances in which young players have later been sued by the agency they signed with.
IF YOU STILL WANT AN AGENT
Have a highlight tape and an updated resume that summarizes your accomplishments. There are many companies today that will help you put a highlight tape together.
You can contact as many potential representatives as you like. If you are hoping to play in a particular country, it may be helpful to find a soccer agent who is either located in that country or who have a proven record of placement with the clubs you are interested in.
There are many considerations when choosing a sports agent. They need to be familiar with the general pay rates for other soccer players. Depending on the size of the club and location this pay scale may be very different.
Ask to review their standard contract before you meet. It is always a good idea to have someone else review this with you. If you can afford an attorney, it is worth the investment to have one review the contract.
Look at such items as the length of time the contract lasts. Is there language in the contract addressing termination? By the agent? By You? What period of time does the contract cover?
What happens to the contract if you aren’t signed with a team or get injured?
FIFA has a list of match agents. They can be found here.
Go Soccer Pro is reaching out to soccer agents and asking what they look for in potential clients. Some of these agents are also attorneys.
Some agents only sign players who have already established themselves - either by being a part of a top well-recognized academy, or by having played for a professional or semi-professional team.
Below, you will find links to agents we spoke to. These are individuals who were good enough to answer some questions for me.
Questions to Ask Soccer Agent
Questions you may consider asking might include:
- Information on their educational background
- Informational on their experience representing players
- Was there ever an investigation opened against them?
- If yes, when did it occur? What were the charges and what was the resolution?
- How many clients do they represent? (Ask to see a client list and where these players have been placed)
- What percentage do they take?
- What term is their contract?
- Are there circumstances that allow you to exit the contract without penalty?
- What services are included in your package? (tax advice, endorsements, public appearances?)
- Will the agent you meet with be the one representing you?
- Will he be the one negotiating your contract?
- What actions do they take to endorse a player when they are off the pitch?
Ask for a copy of their contract and time to review it. If the agent is giving you a sense of urgency in signing, take that as a red flag.
You are signing a CONTRACT. Make certain you have read it thoroughly. You may be promising them anywhere from ten percent of your salary. The amount may vary depending on whether it is for an employment contract or an endorsement contract.
Check if the contract is exclusive or non-exclusive. If you have an exclusive contract with a soccer agent, then you can only work with that one individual or group for the length of time specified in your contract.
If you sign a non-exclusive contract, you can reach out to more than one person at a time and have them work with you to place you with a club.
TRUST YOUR GUT!
It is never a bad idea to have a trusted family member or friend present with you as well.
- Did you feel comfortable with them?
- Did they listen to you when you spoke or speak over you?
- Did they look at their phone or text someone else during your conversation?
- Did they make you promises or just promise to work hard on your behalf?
- You want someone who will be honest.
They should never be offering you gifts or money. This is unethical and possibly illegal. If one does, find another agent!