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Money Smart Athlete Blog

Choosing your agent and his obligations to you

One of the most important decisions an athlete has to take, is the choice of their agent; especially for young athletes making their steps into the fascinating, but at the same time unknown world of sports. Choosing the right agent, the person who will guide and mentor the athlete, can be proven to be a really important decision. In a short career that lasts no more than 20 years, every decision counts, and thus any decision the athlete takes is critical and should be taken carefully and by evaluating every relevant detail.

The first thing that you should realize is that no one will provide their services and care to you unconditionally, alternatively, they will always seek to be rewarded for their help; Agents are in the world of sports to make money, lots of money! There are agents who will do their best to create the right opportunities for you when you are at your peak, but the very same agents might drop you on the spot when an injury suddenly makes your career less bright.

Choose the best one possible

A young athlete whose prospects are not to reach superstar status, will need to search for a good agent as these professionals will only hunt the brightest talents. This does not mean that other kids cannot have a great sports career but they will need to work even harder. Having the proper agent can open so many doors.

Having a network of fellow athletes, coaches and other sports professionals, will give you the opportunity to meet with many agents. Once they come and see you in the playing field, they will hopefully propose a business cooperation; the more proposals you get the more options you have to decide on the agent who better suits you.

An important reason for accepting or rejecting an agent, is their clients’ list. If their list only consists of a few athletes, then this may mean that not too many individuals trust them to be their mentors for the rest of their careers. When the client list is large, it is more than obvious that this agent is being trusted by many athletes and is therefore doing a good job.

Besides the number of clients, another important factor is the age of the agent’s athletes, i.e. look at the mean age of the agent’s client list. When an agent is mostly working with younger athletes, around 20-25 years old, it could possibly mean that they have not been able to find better opportunities for their clients who are not considered talents anymore, but are rather closer to reach their full performance potential. On the contrary, an agent who mostly represents veterans, around 35-40 years old, could be seen as somebody who ‘steals’ players from other agents, instead of working to develop them. In any case, a balance of client ages should be maintained at all times.

What an agent does

Once athletes choose the agent they consider the best fit for them, an agreement has to be signed for a certain period of time where the athlete will be considered their agent’s ‘asset’. The agreement between the athlete and the agent will be on a revenue sharing basis where the agent gets a percentage of the athlete’s contract, and in many occasions can get commission from the athlete’s transfer fees.

Even though things may look easy for agents, they are not. Not everyone is a super-agent like Mino Raiola or Jorge Mendes and most agents really work hard to make a living. For every single athlete, each agent has responsibilities; especially for their young athletes, whose careers largely depend on them. The agent is the authorized person for the athlete’s career management. From the first day the athlete and the agent start working together, the agent is responsible for the athlete’s contract negotiations with clubs. If the athlete is not happy with the terms and conditions at their current club, the agent will be authorized to search for a new club for their client, taking advantage of their extensive network. In order to attract more clubs, an agent can promote the athlete in many ways, and in some occasions by even declaring interest in public, so that the athlete’s perceived market price increases.

Besides handling the athletes’ career, an agent should act as a mentor to athletes, especially the younger ones. Usually, kids who grow up in difficult conditions, and suddenly find themselves surrounded by money and fame, cannot handle the pressure. The agent must act as a second father to these youngsters and advise them how to handle things so that they do not ruin their careers. Advise should not only be given on their behavior, but on how to handle their finances as well.

When young athletes are considered as rising stars and their popularity keeps increasing, many brands will start asking to be represented by the athletes and appoint them as their brand ambassadors. In this situation, it’s the agent’s duty to negotiate the best possible deals in the athlete’s interest, and handle the details of the agreement. Furthermore, agents should keep an eye on their clients’ social media accounts, as there is always the danger of ambush marketing, which will cost them lots of money assuming one of the athletes’ sponsors becomes unhappy!

Not an easy job

Being an agent is a hard task. Undeniably, it is very difficult to be on top of so many games every week when seeking new talents. Even after an agent spots the athlete, it’s hard for them to approach the athlete, or their families, in order to sign a contract.  It is even harder to handle many athletes, who come from different backgrounds while at the same time having to respond to their requests, and coordinate with their coaches and their club executives.

However, if an athlete does his research, and finds a trustworthy and capable agent, then he may be set for a great career! For more information on what to look for in an agent and what services you should expect from him, you may contact us at charis@apc-sport.com.

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