Temecula FC owner Brandon Jantz catches up with former teammate and friend Shaun Higgins who is president and CEO of PRO Football Consultants. He is one of four agents in the US with experience concluding transfers in the MLS, English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Danish SuperLiga, and with UEFA Champions League and Europa League teams. Shaun’s experience as a former professional soccer player distinguishes him from other top US agents.
Brandon: You and I played together and lived together in the same house for a time in the late 90’s. Do you feel aspiring players benefit from all being under one roof? I know I personally enjoyed the drive and competition being around top players.
Shaun: I believe at a young age it is important for players to be together. It creates a bond, which is important for teams to thrive. It also produces a competitive environment, where players hold other players accountable. Young players also learn from others, so it helps them grow and become more mature.
Brandon: Do you find a difference between American players and players from the rest of the world? If yes in which way?
Shaun: When we meet with teams in Europe, they always say the same thing about American players. They love the mentality of the US player; the fighting and winning mentality. I think there has been a huge change in the last 10 years in how teams think about our players. There is a bigger interest than ever before and a respect for the talent level.
Brandon: You played professionally in the USA. Where do you see the professional game going in the next 10 years? Pro/Rel? More lower leagues?
Shaun: The last 10 years has seen such tremendous growth, which nobody would have predicted. I think once MLS is done with expansion, the USL will have to continue to grow their infrastructure and create a sustainable environment. Then the youth teams will have to adapt as well. The game will continue to grow and inevitably have a bigger presence in our media, which is really important.
Brandon: How do you decide if you’re going to sign a player with your agency?
Shaun: We sign players that we believe will have a 10 year career at a high level. We only sign players that we believe in ‘off the field’ and want to work with.
Brandon: In Europe at what age do you see top youth players starting to train or getting minutes with the first team?
Shaun: Each team and league is different. Some leagues are better than others at giving young players a chance in a first-team environment. We work in Denmark and Germany because we think these are great places for young US players. We also provide amazing support with experienced people on the ground. It is never easy for any player to leave their family or country, but these cultures are easy to adapt to and our support helps make them comfortable.