This post is a follow up to the one we wrote a couple of weeks ago regarding agents and scouts part #1. With the recently finished Generation Adidas (GA) qualifying games, it seems appropriate to continue talking about agents and scouts. Before we start though, it’s of utmost importance to remind our audience that everyone in football has their own agenda. Clubs want what is best for the club, scouts want to protect their reputations, agents want to make money, parents want their kids to be a success and most of the time these agendas do not align well. With that in mind, let’s try to address some basic questions.
- Why do players/families seek an agent/scout?
Players/families seek out an agent or scout because they typically need assistance, guidance or just a second opinion on a decision. Normally, players/families look for an agent as a way to either validate probability or try to expedite the player’s path to professionalism. Conversely, an agent seeks out players/families to gauge if there is a potential match between the player’s/family’s aspirations and what a particular football club needs for potential representation.
2. How do players/families find an agent? Or does the agent find you?
Typically, agents find players they are interested in at events such as Development Academy showcases/playoffs, Generation Adidas Cup (qualifying and tournament), Dallas Cup, DA/ECNL games, Youth National Team events, International tournaments, football online forums, etc. On the other hand, there are some proactive parents who seek out agent advice via online research (ex. this blog) or by asking parents of players currently leveraging the services of an agent. For example, recently, we have had several parents reach out to us for suggestions on alternate paths for their players instead of the local MLS club. As far as scouts are concerned, scouts tend to be a bit more reserved and may not interact with the player/family at these events directly. Sometimes, scouts could be college coaches which is a separate option altogether.
3. Once the player/family meet/talk with an agent, what should the first conversation be about?
Well, this one is somewhat easy, if the agent found *you*, you let them explain the reason they contacted you which is likely interest in player representation. On the other hand, if you reached out to the agent, be ready to state what you need from them; be specific about your questions (these may be personal in nature). We must say that it’s likely the first meet/talk is a phone conversation. Examples could be a request to asses your player, possible progression pathways for your player, MLS/USL/DA/NCAA rules, best development environments for your player, etc. Below is an example of some topics/questions to be curious about. The priority of the questions below is situational based on player/family needs.
- Services offered (ex. building player profile, player placement, additional sponsorships, tax preparation, etc.)
- Cost structure for services offered
- How many other players do they represent?
- Who else do they represent?
- How long have they (agent/agency) been in the business?
- How did agent/agency start in the business? Did he/she play the game?
- How long have they been assessing/following your player?
- What’s their assessment of your player?
- How do they make money?
- What markets are they most comfortable in?
4. What comes after the first meeting/conversation with an agent?
It really depends on the agent’s familiarity with your player and a potential need for your player on a club. Although unlikely, if the initial conversation leads to a potential trial in a particular market; it may be necessary to have the agent create a video clip of the player for promotion/exposure. Most agents have access to ample footage (WyScout) so they should be able to create their own but sometimes time is of the essence; and the agent can request player footage to the family so it’s important for the family/player to have a clip readily available that can be used. Put some thought into creating the clip (we could probably write an entire post on this topic) but don’t go overboard (especially with the music). In our case, we organically created the #theGomezway YouTube channel and that proved to be instrumental in agents validating their thoughts on the boys. Our advice is to have fun with it; if not for recruiting, the website will be full of memories in a few years. You don’t really have to go all out either. However, it’s important that you enjoy doing it and that it doesn’t become a chore.
5. If I don’t have footage of my player, where do I find some?
If your player plays DA, all games are recorded. Most of those games are readily available if you ask the right person. At FC Dallas, there was a point in time where all it took was a request to the manager for footage but as soon as they realized parents were using it for highlight purposes, they started scrutinizing and negating such requests. It’s always a good idea to try to record (or have somebody record) games where your player shows well. Look into Soloshot. That did wonders for us. Disclaimer: We don’t work for Soloshot.
6. Does it cost money to go on trials?
It should not cost any money to be assessed by a club. However, commuting to the club’s facilities whether be across town or in a different continent is normally at the expense of the player/family. Once the player is trialing, housing is typically provided by the club. For example, trialing in Europe is very cost prohibitive for families. Once there, the inviting club normally provides room and board. Sometimes you could be fortunate enough to have a club so interested in your player that they can assist with travel costs as well. However, it is typically NOT the norm especially for American (pay to play) players.
7. Once in a trial, what role does the agent play?
The main role of an agent in a trial is to set it up. The agent usually doesn’t accompany the player to the trial (especially if it’s abroad); however, the agent will help setup room and board with the club for the duration of the trial. A typical trial is about a week but could easily last longer depending on the hosting club interest, point in their current season, weather, etc. Since the family is paying for the transportation to the trial club, it’s probably a good idea to try to line up clubs in a particular market to trial with all in one trip. If the agent sets up multiple trials in one trip, it is possible to receive feedback from the clubs prior to the end of the trip. The agent will relay that feedback to the player/family.
8. How long does it take to receive feedback?
It depends. If the club really, really wants your player (and the conditions are all present -ex passport, release, age, etc.), they can extend an offer on the spot; otherwise, they will take their time possibly to evaluate other players. Similarly, your player can explore other clubs in sequence. In general, the agent is the one receiving feedback directly from the club; one can expect to hear from the club within a few weeks; otherwise, it probably means, there may not be an immediate interest.
To be continued….