I have been involved in football one way or another for the last 40 years.
Firstly as an amateur player and then a parent. As a young lad, I had potential but never progressed into the professional game. I had spells with Burnley FC and Deportivo La Coruna, but I never became a full-time professional player. Looking back, I was never given the right advice. I know potential is never enough and even if I had have done things differently I may still never have made the grade as a full-time professional. But to have any chance, I should in hindsight have made different choices. Made certain sacrifices, skipped on that ‘just one night out.’ If I had someone to put their arm round me and guide me, who knows.
In a way I am glad. Everything happens for a reason and I have experienced first hand how limited the window can be in professional sport. I have two sons Jay and Joseph. Both played junior football. My wife Carol was very supportive of our sons in everything they did and football was a massive part of our lives. Most weekends were taken up with games across the width and breadth of the country. Both lads were committed. Both myself and Carol were able to steer them in the right direction when needed but in all honesty, they naturally made the right choices. Joseph ultimately decided to play amateur football and train to be a qualified engineer. Jay obviously accepted professional terms at Burnley FC, before moving to Southampton and now plays for West Bromwich Albion FC. They have made commitments in different ways. Both of which have made me very proud.
Professional football is a brutal sport. I have witnessed first hand the stark reality of youth football. The large numbers of talented players that do not get professional contracts. The mental toughness young professionals have to quickly gain. The uncertainty. How luck can push a career upwards or an unlucky injury can end a player’s career. The financial rewards for the lucky few that manage to reach the Premier League, the hangers on that can bring. Agents…
Now unfortunately agents have had a bad press recently. Sometimes rightly so. I have seen and heard about terrible agents. I have also seen and heard tales of excellent agents. There is a variety as in any industry. For a number of years now I had a voice telling me that I could help players. That I could work with their families and use my own experiences and those of my friends and family. In 2016 with the support and encouragement of Carol and my sons, I took the leap. I left my job in private industry. I started to represent a couple of young players at Burnley FC. I now, together with a trusted team at DRN Sports, represent professionals at Premier League, Championship, League 1, League 2, non-league, Welsh Premier, Scottish Premier League clubs. But we haven’t forgotten the youth. We have some very talented young players on our client list. Players that will hopefully fulfil their dream. If not, we will try and support them. That’s what I wanted for my own son from an agent and what I base our own company philosophy on.
I was honoured to be asked to tell Robbie about our business. Robbie is of course a massive Southampton FC fan. The Saints will always be special to the Rodriguez family.
All the best,
Kiko Rodriguez DRN sports