1) What initially motivated you to work in the sports agency industry?
I was drawn to the industry as a result of being around the sport my entire life. My father and stepfather both coached professionally and I have been around the game since birth. I was always interested in the business side of the sport and after interning within the industry I realized it was a great fit for me personally.
2) How did you obtain your first client, and what was your first contract negotiation like?
My first client was recommended to me by a friend who was an influential figure in the young man’s life. My friend understood this young man had immense talent, but also would require a fair bit of personal attention and thought I would be a good option despite my lack of experience. The player is now part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, so I feel I did my job in assisting him and providing necessary guidance. He has worked incredibly hard to reach this point in his career and would never seek any credit for his success, but I think he would be the first to acknowledge my efforts early on to get him on the right track.
There wasn’t much to his first deal as a result of his academy status at the club. The most important element to the deal was ensuring he believed in himself enough to know a new deal would be on its way.
3) If there was one aspect of the agency industry that you could change, what would that be and why?
I would dedicate more time to family and friends. This business, if done correctly, has the ability to consume you. Remembering to take time for family and friends is something that can easily be overlooked due to the 24/7 nature of this job. I believe being an agent in the soccer world presents challenges that may only be present on smaller scales to a degree sports like basketball and baseball. The sport is played in every country of the world, which contributes to the feeling that the work never comes to an end.
4) How do you utilize social media in your current role as an agent?
I use social media to keep up with current events happening in the sports world. Social media is a wonderful tool in this day and age, but it also has the ability to be quite dangerous. My social media activity is usually limited to keeping onlookers aware of how my clients are performing.
5) What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I would say seeing clients reach their individual sporting/personal goals. Each athlete has their own unique aspirations and there is no better feeling than seeing them convert a dream into reality. The “thank you” that comes from helping a client achieve his sporting goals is what keeps me going. The most meaningful “thank yous” come from the clients who have gone through good times and bad, but never stopped believing in the relationship.
6) In 100 words or less, what advice would you give aspiring sports business professionals who want to work at an agency like the James Grant Group?
Take a long, hard look inside yourself and ask if you are ready to commit yourself to an industry that never sleeps. The job will test everyone at some point on many levels, so stay true to yourself and your core beliefs. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and be prepared to put the needs of others ahead of your own personal needs. This is a service-based industry that becomes more competitive by the day.