There is a world out there where clubs fight to sign a player but 99% of the players do not live there. They live in the World of Hope. The hope of playing pro football for a decent salary the next season. This a crowded world where agents promise manna from heaven but deliver misery such as:
- no pickup at the airport and or no club that actually expects a player;
- a surprise trial instead of a medical test and contract signing after arrival;
- coaches who have not asked for the player and do not know the player and have no interest in the player's services;
- the contract offers totally different financial conditions than pictured by the agent.
These miseries do not happen occasionally but REGULAR. If you are a player you CAN and SHOULD PREVENT these situations and hereunder I will explain hereunder how.
- Verify your ‘agent's’ identity and registration
- ask a copy of his/her id.
- ask for proof of registration as intermediary.
- Verify the club interest:
- ask for an invitation (direct from the club)
- ask for a draft contract in the event it is a straight deal.
- Make sure you have a return ticket and survival money
ad i. Verify your ‘agent's’ identity and registration
Trustworthy people and fraudsters approach players via facebook, whatsapp etc. They ask players all kind of privacy related info such as a copy of the passport, salary info, history with last club etc, and players answer….but who the hell is that person you are delivering that info to? Who is this person? Why should you tell him all this and give him a copy of your id? Because he says he is an agent? You just believe anyone who sends you a text? Be carefull! A player should first of all ask these persons ‘Who are you?’ Can you send me a copy of your passport, can you send me proof of your registration, what are your address details, what is your email’,. These are perfectly normal questions that will not scare away any legitimate agent.
ad ii. Verify a club’s interest
So the ‘agent’ claims to have a club interested in you. Well its very normal that that this club confirms such interest and issues an invitation in which is specified whether they wish that you will come for a trial or if they wish to offer you a so called 'straight deal' (no trial).
An invitation should clearly state:
- if it is a trial (and the trial period) or;
- if it is to sign a employment agreement and if such is the case the main points such as:
- salary and
The draft contract
If the agent claims that it is a straight deal there can be no objections to sending you already a draft of the contract so that you can review the contract. Once you are at a club you will be under too much pressure to review a contract.
Be very aware that many agents do not hesitate to lie about the salary. They know that once you are in a strange country you will not run away immediately when the club offers a lower salary than pictured before by the agent.
ad iii. Make sure you have a return ticket and survival money.
If you go to a club and you have not signed yet make sure you have a return ticket for instance not later than 5 days after he arrives at destination or enough money to buy one. You also do not go in vacation with empty pockets and no return ticket. Secure a safe exit!
It is clear that a player can be under a lot of pressure to accept a trial invitation. It is also understandable that clubs wish to see players on trial, not only to test skills but also to get a picture of a persons character.
To avoid disappointments a player who has not received a clear invitation to sign a straight deal should be aware that his trip is at the best a training vacation. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as you are properly informed it can be a meaningful and enjoyable trip.
Good luck and have fun!