Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaron Jacob.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Aaron. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had played soccer since I was 6 years old and made my way through to playing at a Professional club as a youth player. I got badly injured at sixteen and after being involved in different vocations, I decided to start taking my UEFA coaching badges in London, England, where I lived. I worked with local schools and clubs to begin with and then decided to join a company in Houston, Texas who were looking for coaches during the summer of 1995. I travelled all around Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico and did this for 5 summers until 1999. That year I decided to start my own academy just outside London called the AJF Academy. This was extremely successful and eventually I was asked to become a development center for a professional club called Charlton Athletic FC in London.
Over the next few years I was promoted to Youth Development Director for the whole of London and the South East of England for that particular club. And was responsible for identifying the best talent, selecting youth players for the academy section of the club. At the time Charlton were in the English Premier League, so the players chosen had to be the most elite we could find in the entire country for ages 9 to 18 years old, Some have gone on to be professional players at major clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Fulham, West Ham, Liverpool, Bournemouth and Norwich City, amongst others.
Players I coached, include, Russell Martin (Norwich City/Scotland) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Martin_(footballer) Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle Utd FC/England), Callum Harriott (Reading FC), Jordan Cousins (QPR), Oliver Muldoon (Charlton Athletic), and Semi Ajayi (Arsenal, now Cardiff City FC) who were all players coached during his time at Charlton’s youth Academy.
Between 2004 and 2008, I also held the role of Head Coach at a college in SE London, The Lewisham College Academy were considered one of the best youth teams in the UK, at that time, and played in the highest league (outside of Pro Academy status),- the F.A. Youth Conference League. References below.
During this time four players went on to be signed to Professional clubs, including Max Gradel who went on to play at the highest level with Leicester City, Leeds United, St Etienne, and presently AFC Bournemouth-in the EPL (as well as full international senior with the Ivory Coast) wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Gradel
In 2005 I was the first coach to bring a College Academy side to the Dallas Cup. We came for a further 10 years after the first one (although by 2008 I had left to immigrate to the USA) this is one of the biggest youth tournaments in the world and has been going on for over 30 years. Lewisham College continued to attend the Dallas cup until last year 2016. In fact Dallas Cup has just finished (week April 10th to 17th)
In 2008, I came back to live and work in Dallas. It was major change of life and to some degree culture.
Between seasons 2008 and 2014 I became a senior coach and ultimately USSF Academy Director for a club, based in Dallas, Texas. I was made Director of Coaching for the U14, U16 and U18 USSF Youth Development Academy teams, the highest level of youth play in the USA linked directly to the National program and the senior team, managed by Bruce Arena.
In 2014 I started the AJF Agency and went into Professional Player Representation. It’s a venture that I have always wanted to be involved in and I wanted to utilize all of my knowledge, experience and expertise in the soccer industry to bring players from all over the world to play in the MLS (Major League Soccer) NASL and USL Pro leagues. The MLS is exponentially growing and will, I believe, achieve its objective of becoming a major contributor to the highest levels of the game over the next 5 to 10 years. It is an ideal choice for players wanting to ply their trade in a fantastic country and more and more players want to come here from abroad.
As a qualified UEFA and USSF licensed coach, including Certification to Identify European Premiership level players, I made a decision to divert my efforts into becoming a registered USSF Intermediary. The agency represents ‘Top Class’ talent in North America, and offers opportunities to professionals seeking to play here and abroad, including Europe, the Far East/Australia, and Central/South America, by utilizing our contact base and network in those countries.
Has it been a smooth road?
Pretty much Ok. The biggest challenge is convincing a club that your player is the one they need. As an agency you may be competing against numerous others who are trying desperately to get a deal for their players.
It’s really about the relationships you have built and the personalities at the clubs and the decision makers- the Technical/Sporting Directors and/or GM’s, Head Coach, relative to the players they are looking to sign and the type of personalities and character they look for to fit in with the club culture.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with AJF Agency – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The AJF Agency recruit and represent the highest level of soccer talent, from youth, to experienced senior professional 1st team players who want to play (or are already playing) in the USA or internationally. We also directly represent and service professional clubs seeking players, and coordinate with third parties on their behalf.
We are also a registered FIFA Match Agency, which essentially means we can promote and organize international soccer matches between professional clubs or national teams anywhere throughout the country.
We are an established well run professional company with some very highly rated team associates and members who have been in the industry for over 30 years. We offer our help and assistance to support all of our players’ careers. Our staff team specialize and offer a level of consultancy and advice unsurpassed, using highly experienced personnel who have knowledge , expertise and the qualifications to help our players conclude contractual deals, with clubs as well as commercial, sponsorship and endorsement deals, both in the U.S, and abroad. We are proud to be considered as one of the best and most focused player/agent representation firms in the soccer industry.
Our differentiation from others is that we are very selective on the players (and coaches) who we sign to our agency, only looking for the finest young talent, with great potential and value, to offer clubs here and abroad. Our boutique style of representation means that we can offer the highest level of service, very individually focused, over other companies who have a client base that we feel overlooks the personal touch, and concentrates on the top earners in their portfolio.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Best -The weather, the people the arts/music/food and culture, sport teams.
Like Least- The weather, traffic (in town), otherwise not much else.
- Website: www.Ajfagency.com
- Phone: Dallas +1 214 550 0707 London +1 44 (0)203 608 4847
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Fejer (Photos)