By: Chase McCaskill, @itsmechase
Front Office Sports had the opportunity to speak with rising soccer agent, Remy Cherin. Through his dedication and hard work, Remy has begun to develop an established sports management and talent representation agency, Remington Ellis Management. However, Remy’s journey did not start in a classroom taking law classes. Upon graduation, he was able to get a job at Madison Square Garden doing ticket sales. “Here, I really learned how to sell, 100 cold calls a day, nothing glamorous. Having the humility to call 100 people and have 98 of them tell you to get lost helps build thick skin. I’m a big advocate for starting in ticket sales.” This was at the beginning stages of the MLS’ expansion project and Red Bull had just bought the Metrostars in New York. Remy had done some work for Red Bull in college and naturally, Remy followed his manager and assumed a ticket sales role for the new MLS franchise.
However, Remy had always dreamed of being an agent. He told us, “I’d always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I never wanted to rely on someone else for a paycheck. As a kid, I’d sell baseball cards and memorabilia on eBay.” After a year of studying and shortly before he took the FIFA agent exam, Remy received an offer to work for Vice, selling and executing all their events. “It was a great job because I got to know a lot of executives at different brands and build a lot of good brand contacts.” Simultaneously, he passed the FIFA agent exam, but he said, “Initially, having the agent’s license was kind of like having a boat license with no boat…” Shortly after receiving his license, Remy left Vice to focus solely on building his agency. Much to his chagrin, his new agency was struggling to find clients. It wasn’t until he made a great reference with a notable US National player that the business started to pick up. He spent a year working with Santio Sports + Entertainment where he learned the ins and outs of contracts and how the industry worked. After a year with Santio, Remy went out fully on his own where he has now really broadened his scope. He represents players in the MLS, Europe, and Mexico with clients such as Mix Diskerud, Marcos Senna, Emily Sonnett and Jack Harrison (both number one picks in the MLS & NWSL 2016 Drafts), just to name a few. “It really has been a step-by-step process, initially through ticket sales and networking, then getting to know more people, and now building a reputation. I strived do well with my initial clients and had those lead to referrals. After 8 years, it’s finally starting to click.”
When asked about the main difficulties he experienced in starting his own management firm, Remy said, “Being able to live and have money come in was the toughest part. I was living off Bar Mitzvah money for like three years!” Remy mentioned the difficulty in building a better client base and building trust from players. “The keystone of our business is doing well by our guys and having that lead to referrals. It was tough burning through cash, but I stayed the course and had faith in myself that it would work out.”
Many people quickly remind sports agent hopefuls the difficulty of getting into the industry. Of course, the industry is hyper-competitive, but there are skills that lead to being a good sports agent. Remy touched on this a bit when he spoke about having patience and the importance of being able to sell. He also stressed the importance of having meetings with people, not expecting jobs, but rather, to soak up knowledge. In addition, there is benefit in time management, being able to balance/prioritize your time while giving each of your client’s the support and advice they need. “I haven’t mastered time management yet, but it’s about working around the clock and setting expectations. When I had a few guys I was always available, but now it’s just being direct. When I tell someone I’ll call them back in an hour, I almost always call them back in an hour (or two.)…”
Sometimes, the legal aspect of sports agency can be daunting. Many time sports agents are portrayed as legal guru’s who happen to represent athletes. Many people are discouraged from pursuing athlete representation because they don’t want to attend law school. Much of Remy’s experience had been on the marketing/sales aspect of the business while at Vice and the New York Red Bulls. However, the legal aspect hasn’t really been his difficulty. He told us that “Contracts in the MLS are all pretty standard. With anything complicated, I pay a lawyer to look it over. We prefer to write contracts with our sponsors with a template that we’re comfortable using.”
Remy continued on to share some words of wisdom for those looking to move into his industry. “Have faith that whatever you’re doing is going to work out and keep working your tail off doing it. Initially, I didn’t know where ticket sales was going to lead me. Even up to two years ago I was still stressing and wondering if everything was going to work out, but you’ve got to have faith.” Remy also wanted to leave our readers with the benefit of learning how to sell. “If I’m bringing people in to join my firm, I want earners. I don’t want people who are just going to come in to help me execute. I want people who aren’t afraid to take ‘no’ for an answer. As mentioned before, you’ve got to have really thick skin to deal with that.”