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Tasked with negotiating big-money transfers and getting the best deals for their clients, football agents are a huge part of the modern game.

With their networks of global contacts, the role of an agent has become one of the most important in football, with some agents more recognisable than the players they represent.

On a recent visit to UCFB Wembley, international sports agent Malle Koido explained: “To be a successful agent, and to represent players and clubs, your network is your primary selling tool. If you’re a young person starting out, the best thing is to get out there and show your face as much as you can in the football environment.”

Managing Director at Sporting11 - an agency specialising in international transfer negotiations between English, European and South American clubs - Koido has developed a wide network, offering players opportunities in more than 10 key European leagues.

Addressing students as part of the UCFB Executive Guest Speaker Series, Koido had some wise words of advice for getting started in the industry: “You can start off by going to under-18s and under-23s games, going to smaller venues where people who work in the game are more accessible. You need to have the courage to walk up to people and introduce yourself, tell them what you do, and build up relationships. Networking is the most important part of the job to be successful.

“You have to be proactive and put yourself in the environment of the football agent, going to games, networking with scouts and trying to get meetings with clubs to understand how they work and to understand that unique selling point that you can approach them with.”

With experience as a Commercial PR Officer at the Estonian Football Association and 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City, Koido has clients in the English top-flight, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Scandinavian leagues.

“Really upskilling in terms of knowing all the legal regulations, knowing how the transfer market works, having a lot of market knowledge on salaries, judgment values, what different clubs look for, playing styles and having as much information as possible is key,” she added.

“At the end of the day, to get into a good agent environment, you either need to know the people there very well or you have to offer them clients, so put yourself in the environment and see if it’s for you. It’s a very intense environment – it’s not all going to games and seeing players and talking to chairmen and negotiating. It’s also very much about the day to day things to stay up to date with the industry and be relevant.”