Saturday, May 25, 2024

LSUS graduate honored in Forbes 30-Under-30 Europe list as a premier women’s soccer sports agent

by BIZ Magazine

LSUS graduate Takumi Jeannin appeared in the Forbes 30-under-30 Europe list published earlier this month, which honored the next generation of game changers in sports, gaming and media.

Jeannin developed into one of the most respected women’s soccer sports agents in the world, starting at the A&V Sports Group in 2017 as an intern and blasting up the corporate ladder to a partner and co-owner in seven short years.

The 29-year-old’s name is on the same list as some of the giants in women’s soccer, like Union of European Football Associations Player of the Year Aitana Bonmati after she led Spain to a World Cup title. The list also includes young stars in other sports as well as gamers and social media content creators.

Among Jeannin’s clients is the No. 1 draft pick in the National Women’s Soccer League Alyssa Thompson, and Jeannin became the first non-American to represent a top NWSL pick.

“Sometimes I don’t even realize being the first because the deals are so intense and you’re caught up in the moment,” said Jeannin, who grew up in Paris as the product of a French father and Japanese mother. “But when you’re being recognized by Forbes in this way, OK maybe all of this isn’t so bad.

“When I go to bed, I can’t wait to wake up and see what’s in store for the following day. It’s been a long journey, but no matter what industry you’re in, if you work hard and are true to your principles and values, people feel that and will gravitate toward you and want to work with you.”

That journey started by being placed in a trade school for secretaries following graduation from a French high school.

“But that wasn’t my path,” Jeannin said. “I was an 18-year-old whose dream of professional soccer was fading, and there wasn’t much I could have done education wise in France.”

Jeannin found his way to the United States via a soccer scholarship at the University of Mobile (Ala.), an NAIA member which plays in the same division at LSUS.

That familiarity with the LSUS name led him to choose the Master of Business Administration program when he was searching to strengthen his knowledge base in 2019.

“I always thought it would be useful to have an MBA in case I wanted a career in a more typical corporate field,” said Jeannin, a 2020 graduate. “But also in my undergraduate studies as a student-athlete, sometimes I was doing the bare minimum (academically).

“I wanted to obtain a higher level of knowledge and education. I didn’t necessarily need an MBA to become a partner at my agency, but the skills and knowledge I got in those 18 months allowed me to gain an understanding of the business world that’s crucial to my job.”

Jeannin joined the A&V Sports Group when the agency was in its infancy in 2017, and he quickly earned the respect and trust of the founders with his hard work and dedication.

His sports agent path started by helping high school European soccer players find places to play and study in American colleges.

And then one day, a West Virginia University player whom the agency had placed for her collegiate career, was ready to explore professional opportunities back in Europe.

“Now these college players wanted to play professionally in France, and one of our founders Alan (Naigeon) saw an opportunity and the need for proper representation for professional women’s soccer athletes,” Jeannin said. “There are a lot of companies who do this now, but that wasn’t the case seven or eight years ago.

“It was a mix of a great business opportunity and trying to do the right thing to make a bigger impact in the sport that allowed us to gain this type of position.”

Aside from his personal accomplishments and relationships, Jeannin points to the growth of women’s soccer as a reason a strictly women’s soccer agent would appear on a Forbes’ list.

“When I received the email, I thought it was a prank at first,” Jeannin said. “But I’m proud because we represent the best players in the world, and I’m glad that an agent who just does women’s soccer can get this kind of recognition.

“Ten years ago, this wouldn’t have been considered.”

With the growth of women’s soccer and the continued progress of sports in general, Jeannin also said it’s time for more Asian representation in the sports agent industry.

“It’s a bit sad to see that Asian representation is hugely lacking in soccer and in sports in general,” Jeannin said. “I’ve never defined myself just by my ethnicity – I thought it would be something that would hold me back.

“It might make it harder in some ways to be a minority, but if you work hard and stay true to your values, there’s no reason people won’t trust you. Maybe a young Asian kid will see this, and maybe they’ll think that a career as a sports agent is possible for them.”

As for acquiring an education during this meteoric rise as a sports agent?

Jeannin credits the online flexibility of the LSUS program for making it possible.

“It was an intense ride – it wasn’t easy,” said Jeannin, who recommended the program to his friend and professional soccer player Bradley Kamdem, who is set to graduate this spring while playing in Canada. “If the format didn’t have the flexibility of online, it wouldn’t have been possible for me.

“As an aspiring full-time sports agent, I was extremely dedicated to my career, and LSUS provided the flexibility I needed. Without even realizing it, this MBA serves me on a daily basis because it allows me to be more efficient in handling tasks than I was before.”

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