Soccer players are entertaining to watch in action, but they are not always alone in all aspects of the sport, particularly those concerning finances. While the games are being played, the business side is being handled by associates such as their agents.
Agents assist soccer players in obtaining and managing contracts with soccer clubs. They also make certain that their transfers are beneficial to them, handle publicity, and even assist them with private issues. Their importance in the game cannot be overstated as they protect the interests of the players, who are the game’s prominent figures.
However, becoming a soccer agent isn’t as simple as partnering with a well-known player or simply knowing the sport, though these are prerequisites. To become a soccer agent, you must go through several processes, all of which require time and effort.
This article goes into great detail in describing the steps, processes, and requirements needed to kick-start a career as a soccer agent to fully enlighten you on how soccer agents come to be.
- How to become a soccer agent?
- How do you become a soccer agent in MLS?
How to become a soccer agent?
With an agent’s license, you can make contact with any soccer player and become his or her agent. However, the process of obtaining such a license and making such contact must be done with much skill and panache.
Furthermore, it is not necessary to have a formal education, although having one will go a long way toward defining a successful career for you.
A notable example of a soccer agent who has established a name for himself worldwide is Jorge Mendes. As a prospective soccer agent, Jorge Mendes should be a household name to acquaint yourself with. His enormous contacts throughout the world of soccer are not easily rivaled – Interestingly, he was never a soccer player.
As a Portuguese, he manages all the elite stars out of the country and other prominent professional soccer players.
On his list are some notable stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcão, and James Rodriguez. He also acts as an agent to renowned soccer coach and manager, José Mourinho.
In your new found journey to becoming a successful soccer agent, here are some steps to guide you along the way.
Improve your management and administration skills
A soccer agent must be well-versed in skills relevant to his line of work. They must be skilled in soccer administration and management because they work directly with executives and manage the financial interests of players.
Step 1: Learn the rules of the game
The first step toward becoming a soccer agent is to learn the basics of the game, if you haven’t already. Even if you’re already familiar with the game, there’s no harm in brushing up on local and international regulations because you never know how limited you are until you’re stretched and discovered.
You should frequently speak with officials of the game in your association to obtain first-hand information about how the game works.
Here, you should concentrate on how transfers work both locally and internationally; know the ABCs of the transfer market. Seek out news and details, as well as the actions of various agents, to supplement your knowledge.
Step 2: Improve your interpersonal communication skills
To be a soccer agent, you must be an active listener during conversations – which you can develop by allowing others to speak while maintaining eye contact. It doesn’t stop there; make sure they know you’re paying attention and that you understand their points.
Other interpersonal skills, such as expressing gratitude when others do something nice, are essential. By doing so, not only is communication ensured, but also teamwork ability is effectively developed. Furthermore, go a step further by developing negotiation skills, which can be accomplished by solving critical problems with others.
Step 3: Learn the fundamentals of civil and contract
It is common knowledge for soccer agents to have an understanding of contracts, especially because they will be responsible for negotiating contracts.
Agents must also learn about soccer players’ rights so that they can be trusted to represent and defend them when called upon. Consider a university education in it or get started by taking relevant online courses to learn about contractual laws and personal rights in soccer.
Essentially, the more knowledgeable an agent is about negotiating a contract or understanding civil rights, the better his chances of success in the industry.
Aside from simply understanding contract laws for the sake of knowledge, you will be required to demonstrate how well you understand them. To obtain an agent license, you’ll be required to take an examination.
Step 4: Earn a bachelor’s degree in sports management
It is recommended, but not required, that you obtain a degree in sports management. By pursuing such formal education, you gain valuable insight into the world of soccer management; giving you an advantage in your quest for a successful career.
This course is offered at several universities, but if not, postgraduate opportunities are readily available.
Aside from studying sports management, you can also take some related courses to improve your understanding of sports management.
Step 5: Learn about business management
Soccer players hire agents to manage their financial interests. As a result, as a soccer agent, your primary responsibility is to manage financial data and make the best financial decisions possible.
The study of business management, whether formally in a tertiary institution or through online courses, introduces potential soccer agents to critical thinking and problem solving.
To learn more, pay close attention to how your soccer association or other relevant organizations broker deals and contracts. You can also learn a lot if you understand exactly how the financial details of contracts related to one another.
By first learning the fundamentals of the game, you’ve elevated yourself above others and put yourself in a position to solve decisive problems that arise. You will be thoroughly versed in all aspects of soccer contracting, paving the way for a prosperous career.
The business side of soccer can be challenging, especially as an agent to a successful professional soccer player. Contracts, salary reviews, and transfers can be overwhelming if not properly equipped with the right knowledge.
For someone already familiar with soccer laws and contractual terms, the process of obtaining formal certifications can be exhausting. Furthermore, the cost of obtaining these certificates is expensive.
Begin Procedures to Get a Soccer Agent License
A license is similar to a pass that grants permission to act, and in soccer, an agent’s license grants permission to act as an agent for a soccer player. The right to be identified as a soccer agent is obtained by being approved by soccer authorities.
The steps to obtaining an agent license are outlined below.
Step 1: Submit an application to your national soccer association
The process of obtaining a license usually begins with a prospective agent requesting a form from his or her local soccer association. In America, for example, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) manages soccer, and prospective agents can fill out an application form with them.
This form must be completed correctly and truthfully. Some information will be requested from you, and it will be pointless if you are not truthful in what you write out. Candidates with a history of violent behavior or crime would also be rejected.
The application for a license to become a soccer agent is not free. You must be aware of the amount obtained by your soccer association and submit it along with your application.
Step 2: Take a written exam
You must be tested before being licensed to work as a soccer agent. This written test is given to prospective agents who have met the application requirements, as the association only invites those who it believes are suited for the role.
The exam usually consists of approximately twenty multiple-choice questions and will last approximately one and a half hours.
During the test, you will be asked about sport regulations and laws, with a lot of emphasis on transfers and contracts. This shouldn’t be a problem if you perfectly scaled through the previous stages above.
Typically, the examination is scheduled for March and September, and the exam dates are announced in January and June to allow candidates ample time to prepare.
Step 3: Obtain appropriate liability insurance coverage
After passing the exams and eventually obtaining the license to work as a soccer agent under the association through which you applied, the next step is to obtain insurance. Typically, the association will ensure that you are insured.
Professional insurance protects you against risks associated with events such as contract termination, as well as other aspects of your professional activities.
It is strongly advised that you obtain insurance from a well-known and reputable company to avoid being taken advantage of. It’s a good idea to check with your current provider to see if such events can be added to your policy. If it is unable to do so, contact other insurers, preferably those within the soccer association.
It should be noted that issuance must be made in your name to ensure a smooth approval. In addition to all of these, it’s important to state that the cost of relevant professional insurance is typically high.
Licensing ensures that all soccer agents have been tested and confirmed to be professional enough to handle contracts for players.
It also ensures that agents who aren’t good enough don’t get to represent soccer players, ensuring that the financial interests of soccer players are taken into account. This is a win-win situation for both agents and players, as your interests are well protected.
The fees for becoming a licensed soccer agent are high. As a result, the number of qualified individuals aspiring to become agents may be limited. Furthermore, the process of becoming an agent with some soccer associations can be time-consuming and exhausting for prospective agents.
Exemptions to working without an agent license
If you are currently living in the US and eligible to work, there are exceptions provided that can allow you to become a soccer agent in the MLS without having a license. To put simply, if you intend to work as an international soccer agent outside of the US, you’ll be required to obtain a soccer agent license. On the other hand, if you intend to work in the MLS by representing its players, then it’s possible to achieve this without necessarily obtaining an agent license.
To ensure you have the full understanding of the laws to better protect the interests of soccer players you’ll be representing, you’re required to have legal authorization to practice as a lawyer in the USA.
Why does the MLS have this exemption? FIFA, the governing body for all things soccer, makes provisions in its regulations for national soccer organizations to independently provide procedures to obtain an agent license. US Soccer is the national organization accredited by FIFA that controls the workings of the MLS.
As a non-licensed prospective agent, you will only be eligible to work in the MLS as an unlicensed agent if you’re a spouse, parent, or sibling to the player you’ll be representing.
Since MLS agents are unable to work outside the US, the US Soccer organization has put in place voluntary application procedures for soccer agents in the MLS to follow in order to obtain a license – if they wish to work internationally.
What happens when an MLS unlicensed agent works internationally? Well FIFA has put in place stringent policies to punish both the club and the player for whom such a non-licensed agent represents.
This exemption, although endorsed by a US national soccer organization, is not the only known case of soccer agents working without a license. There’s a newer term called Player’s Intermediary that also allows anyone to represent soccer players in contract negotiations.
The term was officially recognized by FIFA on April 1, 2015, and it has opened up the possibilities of close family and friends representing players. So why are licensed soccer agents still important in the world of soccer? They not only bring the skills, experience, and connections, they come as lawyers who understand the ins and outs of laws governing the sport.
Some notable examples of professional soccer players who use close family as agents include:
- Lionel Messi – His dad, Jorge, has been representing since he became a professional soccer player. It is on record he was paid commissions of over €61.5 million all through Messi’s stay at Barcelona
- Neymar – After sacking his Brazilian agent, he employed his dad, Neymar da Silver, as his agent.
- Arjen Robben – Although he is a licensed agent, Arjen Robben’s father, Hans, also works as his son’s agent.
- Juan Mata – His dad, Juan Manuel Mata Sr. acted as his agent representative for both the player’s Chelsea and Manchester United deals
Reach out to top personalities in the world of soccer
Making contact and forming relationships with relevant people within the sport, as with any other profession, eases the transition from learning to practicing. It is crucial, as it is one way to promote yourself as a credible soccer agent. Several steps must be taken to achieve this.
Step 1: Volunteer for an internship
Internships put you on the path to becoming an agent. It provides you with first-hand experience in the field while also allowing for the correction of errors.
The best place to look for internship positions is through agencies. All you need to do is meet with the head of your local soccer agency or send an inquiry email to the office.
Typically, you can begin as a freelance agent immediately after obtaining your license, but working for an agency guarantees you a consistent income. Working with a well-known agency also adds to your CV, increasing your future career prospects in the industry.
Step 2: Make contact with previous coaches and players to obtain recommendations
Former players are involved with younger players who are at the pinnacle of their careers or are just getting started. Because they have prior experience in the game, they should have contact with these new generation players or serve as mentors to them.
Former coaches, in addition to former players, know the business better than you do and can assist you in establishing relationships with players.
If you have previously played soccer, you should have a direct relationship with the majority of these former players and coaches, who can assist you in launching a successful career.
The rule of thumb here is to reach out to anyone who has aroused your interest, and with consistent contact, you may be able to connect with great and numerous soccer players.
Step 3: Establish a connection with club officials
After you’ve made contact with former coaches, who may have introduced you to some players, it’s natural to want to contact club officials.
These officials will assist you in identifying soccer stars that you may not have been aware of previously. Aside from that, they may look for your services when looking to buy a player, which will eventually lead to new relationships for you.
Step 4: Ask soccer-watching friends about talented soccer players
Friends, even if they are not professionals themselves, can help you connect with skilled soccer players. By watching soccer games regularly, they are more likely to notice unique skills and abilities in rising stars that others may have overlooked.
Similarly, friends who attend soccer games are bound to notice good players in whom they have been interested in for some time. Besides, as knowledgeable soccer fans, their perspectives on each player can benefit you in the business.
Contacting stakeholders in the sport allows agents to build relationships to obtain opportunities. It also provides them with additional experience and insight into the sport that they would not have had otherwise.
The obvious disadvantage of having to build relationships with people in the industry is being perceived as attempting to force relationships. If it is perceived in that light, your reputation as a soccer player’s representative may suffer.
Become an Agent to Soccer Players
After making contact within the sport, the next big step is to represent soccer players as an agent. Although it may appear simple on the surface, it is not and can be difficult even for those with extensive experience in the industry.
An agent’s actual job is to represent a soccer player, which typically involves the following.
Step 1: Look for upcoming soccer players in league games.
Local soccer players should be your priority because they have yet to join major soccer clubs and are therefore less likely to have representatives. To get their attention, make it a habit to watch local games and spend time observing their abilities on the field of play.
You can also observe their behavior outside of the field of play, but how well they perform on the field is more important.
When you’ve found a player you’d like to represent, approach them and inform them of your intentions. This should be done professionally to avoid tarnishing your self-confidence and reputation.
Step 2: Reach an agreement with the player on the terms of your contract.
The process of representing a soccer player as an agent begins with you negotiating a contract with the player. This contract should clearly state the terms, persons involved, duration, services involved, payment involved, and how to terminate the contract. Both parties must understand and agree to the terms to avoid future squabbles.
It is worth noting that if you are representing a minor, you must obtain his or her guardian’s signature.
It is also worth noting that the maximum duration of a contract between an agent and a soccer player is usually two years, and the payment to the agent is usually around 10% of the soccer player’s profits.
When you sign a contract to represent a soccer player, you automatically become his or her agent. Your ability to complete the task is determined by your negotiation skills and the extent to which you have improved your client’s finances.
A player’s talent and skills on the pitch can increase their worth but it is the negotiating prowess of the agent that adds market value to the player.
By successfully representing soccer players, you can be assured of a consistent stream of income while doing what you do best. It also introduces you to other opportunities in sports.
There are two sides to a coin. Representing soccer players has its own set of drawbacks. While opening up opportunities for you, if you get players in unfavorable deals as a result of poor negotiations, you may dampen your career, regardless of how good it was previously.
Furthermore, if you happen to be an agent for some players, you will be stressed regularly due to the numerous calculations and negotiations involved.
How do you become a soccer agent in MLS?
Becoming a soccer agent in Major League Soccer is similar to becoming a soccer agent in any other reputable soccer league around the world.
Prospective agents in the MLS, like those in other leagues, should become acquainted with soccer and the relevant soccer contract laws in the league.
They must also have good interpersonal and negotiating skills, and a relevant certification is a plus. To become a soccer agent in the MLS, you must first fulfill the Intermediaries Regulations of the United States Soccer Federation.
The Intermediaries Regulations of the United States Soccer Federation govern the licensing and practices of soccer agents in the MLS, as well as the North American Soccer League, the United Soccer League, and the National Women’s Soccer League.
The law, which was revised in 2015, is modeled after the FIFA intermediary regulations, which were enacted to ensure significantly high ethical standards in the relationships between clubs, players, and third parties, according to the soccer governing body.
The FIFA intermediary regulations require agents to sign an intermediary declaration certifying their agreement to comply with the organization’s rules. The regulations limit agent commissions to 3% of the basic gross income for the duration of the contract.
Agents are paid directly from the players’ wages by their clubs, as long as players provide explicit written consent to be forwarded to the clubs. The clubs can also choose to pay the players directly, with their agents receiving their remuneration from the players.
FIFA plans to implement a revision of the intermediaries regulations in 2022. Under the new rules, an agent representing a selling club can earn no more than 10% of the total value of the transfer.
Aside from the FIFA Intermediaries Regulations, the USSF Intermediaries Regulations have few additions for prospective agents hoping to work in the MLS. In addition to the FIFA intermediaries declaration, agents must pay a stipulated registration fee via cashier’s check or money order.
Following the submission of payment and declaration, the applicant will be subjected to a background check to determine whether he has been convicted of a fiscal or harmful crime.
On the other hand, if the applicant is found to be convicted, the application is dismissed. If an intermediary is found to be qualified to become an agent in the MLS, he must pay the regulated registration fee each year to keep the license valid.
It is worth noting that the United States Soccer Federation will refuse to register an agent if certain required documents are not submitted with the application.
A representation contract between the agent and a player and/or club that the agent intends to represent is one example. Another required document is proof that the agent seeking registration is involved in the preliminary negotiations of a contract between a player and a club.
Becoming a soccer agent is a simple process if you follow the steps outlined in the article. Typically, it entails learning the laws governing soccer in the soccer association under which you wish to practice.
Following that, you should ensure that you meet the requirements for obtaining an agent’s license, which will allow you to make contact with reliable personalities in the sport. By maintaining consistency, your career in player representation will flourish!
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!