You might not need a formal education to become a football agent, but there are a few steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of a successful career.
Firstly, what does a football agent do?
Before setting your sights on a career as a football agent, make sure you understand what the job entails.
There are many ‘glamorous’ aspects of the job, but there’s plenty of paperwork involved too.
As a football agent, you will be responsible for:
A key part of the job is attending football matches and sporting events to find talent that you can work with, represent and take to the next level.
By getting talented footballers on your books, you give yourself leverage to trade talent and earn a living.
Once you have the talent on your books, you need to link up with the right organisations, including clubs, to find lucrative opportunities that hit yours and your client’s expectations.
Even if they’re with a club, there might be a better deal around the corner that better matches their career aims.
Press and marketing
If you want to become a football agent, get used to dealing with journalists and the press.
You need to market your clients in the media, respond to press enquiries and arrange interviews and media appearances. Some agents even manage their client’s social media accounts.
Like press and marketing, you need to find sponsorship and endorsement opportunities for your client.
After all, there’s plenty of money to be made through exclusive deals with brands – it’s not just about what happens on the pitch.
Having your client's back
When there’s a dispute between your client and the club they’re employed by, or a brand that endorses them, you’re responsible for representing them and ironing things out.
Legal tasks are a substantial part of being a football agent, so you must be comfortable with the law.
One of the key parts of being a football agent is negotiating contracts and ensuring that contracts meet legal guidelines and are presented to clubs in the right format.
Some agents work with solicitors to do this but understanding the process and what you’re looking at when you glance a contract is, nevertheless, crucial.
If your client is experiencing personal problems, loss of form or are feeling under pressure, it’s your responsibility to act as someone they can talk to, rely on and receive guidance from.
You need to be both a professional and a friend.
As a football agent, you can work independently, for a sports agent or for a law firm specialising in sporting contracts. Some football clubs even employ agents to recruit players for them.
How much does a football agent earn?
There’s a lot of money in football and not just for the players.
Agents typically work on a commission basis, which ranges from 1-10% depending on the client. Sports Management Worldwide claims that football agents earn between £1,200 and £550,000 per Premier League client every year. So, if you have a handful of clients on your books, you could be talking a lot of money.
The more in-demand your clients, the more you’ll earn. For instance, if you’re working with someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, who made $108 million in 2018, your chunk would be a small fortune.
However, the more likely scenario is that you’d work with several clients earning hundreds of thousands every year.
Becoming a football agent
There are numerous steps you should take to become a football agent
Study the market
It’s crucial that you have a good knowledge of the football market, including what the average transfer fees and wages are, as well as what bonuses different players take home.
You need to understand how to position a player, what salary they can command, as well as the needs of clubs and how to identify whether your client is right for them. For instance, does a club have obvious skills or strategic shortcomings? If so, do you have a client that could patch a hole in their team?
One of the main tasks of a football agent is to look over legal contracts, so it’s essential you understand contract law.
You don’t necessarily need to be a trained solicitor, although it could help, but you need to know what you’re looking at when a contract is presented to you, especially if you want to work for an agency.
Like the legal side of things, an understand of business is essential if you’re to be a successful football agent.
Before approaching an agency, you may want to consider studying business management or international sports management, which will help expand your knowledge.
Get agency experience
One of the most popular approaches for budding football agents is to join an agency or at least get some experience with an agency.
You can contact leading sports agencies such as Triple S Sports and Entertainment, Gestifute an Stellar Football to see if they offer voluntary placements or internships – although, make sure you can prove you’re serious about a career as an agent before approaching them.
Once you’ve built up a CV, you can apply for real roles.
Register with the FA
All football agents must be registered. If you’re in England, you must register with the Football Association as an intermediary.
You will undergo a ‘test of good character and reputation’ as well as criminal record check before you’re accepted. There’s a £500 fee for registration.
Network, network, network
Being a successful football agent is all about what contacts you have. You need to attend matches and get to know club officials; you also need to meet new players when they’re starting out, as well as their parents and friends, so you can sign them as early as possible.
You may even want to link up with members of the press who write for leading football and sports publications.
To become a football agent:
- Study the market and get some legal and business knowledge.
- A degree in business management is a popular choice for budding agents.
- Make sure you network as much as possible and meet new talent when you can.
- When you’re ready to get serious, approach sports agencies for internships and, once you’ve got some experience, try to get a full-time position.
- When you’ve been in-house for a while, you may consider going at it alone depending on your success.
That’s it, we wish you the best of luck!