Despite the success of Canada’s men’s soccer team in qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the increased visibility that comes with it, a top agent says more could be done to promote its players.
Nedal Huoseh, who represents superstar Alphonso Davies as well as his international teammate Sam Adekugbe, said Canada Soccer and Major League Soccer clubs could do a much better job of marketing Canadian soccer players.
“I always have the impression that Canadian players are bigger in Canada than outside of Canada. OK, you know, we still don’t have a lot of high quality players,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “But I just feel like we’re still a little behind in marketing our players, in marketing our brand.”
Qualification for the World Cup in Qatar helped raise the profile of Canadian players, but the domestic leagues and Canada Soccer did not take full advantage of it, Huoseh added.
Part of the problem, he said, is what he says is a lack of social media engagement encouraged by clubs when it comes to promoting a player’s brand on the collective of the team.
“Our Canadian players are a little bit behind because, you know, everyone is struggling to get out of a football system that is broken,” Huoseh said, referring to the controversy in which the Canadian association football team has found itself regarding its finances and its agreements with its men’s team. and women’s national teams.
Cheri Bradish, director of the Future of Sport Lab and Sports Initiatives at Metropolitan Toronto University, said there is normally a window for athletes, who are not necessarily household names, to advertise after a major sporting event in terms of market value.
“It may be a shorter window, shorter opportunities,” she said. “It might be a creative partnership with the brand in the shorter term.”
Part of the problem now lies in a different economic situation than that which existed before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s generally going to be more of a challenge for athletes and brands right now, just because of the economy and other factors coming out of COVID, even opportunities, the reality is the belt is a little tight right now ” she said.
Another aspect, Huoseh added, is the ongoing dispute between Canadian players and the national soccer organization.
“Canada Soccer, with all the problems that are happening and all the problems with the players’ associations and Canada Soccer’s problems with (the commercial deal with Canada Soccer), why would a big brand come in and invest? »
The agreement Huoseh is referring to is that Canadian Soccer Business essentially markets Canada Soccer’s products, on and off the field, through broadcast and sponsorship deals. It pays the governing body a fixed amount each year.
Canada Soccer, which has no stake in CSB, would currently receive between $3 million and $4 million per year under the deal as a “duty guarantee beneficiary.” He is trying to renegotiate the deal.
Canada Soccer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Huoseh’s views.
The signings of Adekugbe and Richie Laryea from Nottingham Forest for the Vancouver Whitecaps were praised by the team for their roles as Canadian national team players and the ability it would give them in marketing the team.
“These are two Canadian national players,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said when the signings were announced. “The biggest vibe you get in our market is Canadian football. Giving them two famous faces from the Canadian national team is something that attracts a wider audience.
“It’s a big thing,” he said. “I think it’s important that they come back because I think it will just create a lot more buzz around it. We’re seeing interest in it from the brands we’re in talks with.