Mike is a University of San Francisco Alumni and started his career in the sports industry in a summer soccer camp. He also worked as a coach in an academy club and had the amazing opportunity to join Sacramento Kings as an intern.
After experienced the industry in different sectors, he decided to follow his dream to work with Athletes and now he is a contract advisor at TRI Sports Agency.
Learn more about Mike and his professional background in this interview.
Thank you, Mike!
Can you share a bit about your academic and professional experience?
I received my business degree from Sacramento State University and my master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco (USF). My first position in the sports industry was at a summer soccer camp for youth soccer which turned into a coaching job for an academy club while I was in college. I continued my experience with an internship with the Sacramento Kings but realized I wanted to work with players directly so I took a position at a junior college coaching while obtaining my master’s degree. I then teamed up with a former USF graduate to start representing players at TRI Sport Agency.
What was it about sports that made you want to be part of the sport industry?
I grew up playing multiple sports throughout my youth and high school with the support of my parents. My parents knew it would keep me out of trouble and they encouraged me to obtain good grades. Which it did! As an athlete, the most memorable times wasn’t about competing against opponents but it was more of the relationships that were created with my teammates and coaches. I wanted to continue those experiences after my playing career.
As a University of San Francisco (USF) Sport Management alumni, how important has the master program been towards your success in the industry?
The masters program allowed me to jump over hurdles in the sports world that I wouldn’t be able to do with just a four-year degree in business. It allowed me to tailor my education and get a deeper insight into the business of sports. The educational requirements to apply to be able to take the NFL agent exam was either you needed to have obtained a law degree, a graduate degree, or 7 years working in contracts in some form or another. Thus, my master’s degree from USF met the educational requirements.
You are currently the contract advisor at TRI Sport Agency. What are your key responsibilities and tasks?
My biggest responsibility is first and foremost to look out for the best interest of my clients. Whether I’m negotiating contracts, marketing my clients to different teams, managing their image, etc., I make sure that I always have my clients’ best interests in mind. Another big responsibility is being there for my clients. I’m available to them 24/7 to discuss their future or to just to lend an ear as a confidant. Recruitment for the agency is an important piece of what I do. It is critical to identify talent 1–2 years before collegiate players announce to go professional.
In this challenging time, the sport industry is still on hold. What do you miss the most about the sport industry?
When the world of sports was spinning, every day would spawn fresh and exciting information or controversy. I miss learning new details on the subject and listening to opinions that matter. I also miss watching live sports on TV. Nothing beats watching one of your teams play and not knowing the final outcome of a game. I’m just glad they released the 10-hour series of Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance during all this craziness.
What key skill sets do you need to become a contract advisor?
The most important part of representing players is integrity. In this business, it only takes one time to lose your credibility amongst players and team officials so the decisions you make will determine your reputation. Problems arise throughout an athlete’s life whether it's personal or sports-related and you need to be able to analyze and ascertain what is the best course of action. Being able to adapt to the changing climate of the sport industry is key. This year with Covid-19 plaguing college athletes turning professional, we had to restructure out athletes’ plans entering the NFL Draft.
What tips do you have for students trying to get their foot in the door?
The best advice for students that want to build their careers in sports is try and sample different areas of the industry. Don’t be afraid to apply and accept jobs that maybe outside your particular field of interest. There is no right path to achieve your dream job. I know one individual that obtained an internship in events just to put on his resume and move onto another job. It turned out he really enjoyed it and knew that’s what he wanted to do. If you don’t like what you are doing you can always move on to something else. You will learn about what you like and don’t like.