Today on the grill: Joan Ocon, Tandhem Director
Many dream of entering the soccer world as Player Agents. No early morning practices, best seats to the matches and millionaire commissions. Sounds like a dream job, doesn’t it?
That is only what you see on television, but behind it there is a job in which you do not rest, that you live far from your family and friends and from which you never disconnect. If you are able to assume these three concepts, you can take the first step. But only the first.
Can you explain what is really going on behind the scenes in one of the most competitive jobs in the sports industry?
As I said, this job demands a lot from you. Don’t let your guard down. The competition is fierce and if you want to survive, you must demand yourself the maximum every day. There are no schedules, there are no excuses, and there is no rest. You have to differentiate between two worlds. The formative and the professional. Both have really the same operations on a day-to-day basis but with a greater tension in the professional world.
You are the director of Tandhem, a Representation Agency, but you are also a lawyer. Why did you choose to enter the business of soccer representation/player management?
The question that everyone asks me. There was a time in my career as a lawyer when I realized that I was not born to sit in a chair for hours. I love law and I love sports, so I studied sports law, and thus step by step I entered this world.
Now that you are a Player Agent, does the reality correspond to your expectations? Why?
Although I am an agent, when asked, I always answer that I am a lawyer. It is something that has cost me years of dedication and that is part of my personal stamp in this profession.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
To mark with my work team a style, a unique way of working and a unique philosophy. There are many representation agencies, therefore you have to seek excellence and make a difference. Tandhem has its own style and we must maintain it and enhance it day by day, that is the biggest challenge.
What is the biggest reward of being a Player Agent?
Work together with your player and achieve what we both have set out to do. It sounds easy, but it is not, because there are infinite risk factors. Gladly, I manage to achieve every goal I set with a player by working for it day by day.
What is the importance of press and social media in this business?
Today, it is key. Who does not know you, judges you by your social networks. Maybe before this didn’t happen, but now social media plays a leading role. Luckily, in our company we have a wonderful team of experts to help us and our players.
How did COVID-19 impact the players’ contracts and the transfer market in 2020?
The market is stopped. It should be borne in mind that the football market did not suffer the crisis of 2008, and that it has registered growth year after year until the Covid has stopped it. Salaries have also gone down and the disbursement for player transactions has been reduced by 70%, according to the information published by sports media outlet Palco 23.
Has player management changed with COVID-19?
There is a very important human factor in this work. If human relationships have been cut or reduced, that has affected work. Now it seems that we can travel more and meet with caution, hopefully we continue like this. It is very difficult to convince clubs and sports directors through a virtual meeting. Some clubs have also modified their methodology, replacing scouting travels by players’ data analysis to choose the new players. It is the first time in the soccer industry that clubs have given big data a leading role in recruiting players.
Do you get personally attached to the players or is it just business?
I do not like to give clues of what our style is. But in our case, the personal relationship with the player is key in our work. It is a business, yes, but the business is made up of people, we cannot treat players like trading cards. For us, they are our family. This is how we feel it and this is how they feel it.
What are your top 3 success rules?
Honesty, professionalism and ambition.
What is your best advice for someone who dreams of being a Player Agent?
It seems like a cliché, but in that profession I consider it essential. I would tell him not to give up. When you start and are small, there are many obstacles and everything seems to be a problem. Not giving up and being persistent is key.
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