Sebastian Korst runs the ProSoc agency, which has German talent in American colleges. In an interview, he talked about requirements, scholarship opportunities – and why universities charge their sports teams so much.
Mr. Curst, who communicates with your agency?
That’s really wide. You can’t say that they are all young people who love the United States – there are many who just want to combine football and education. The United States and Canada are the best countries for him. And it’s true that many are playing for their second chance at professional football – and that’s not unrealistic. As an organization, you need to be aware of this desire, so you choose universities accordingly. There are simply too many different levels of performance.
How many players do you keep on average per age?
Approximately 20. We do not accept anything more in our pool to be able to guarantee personal care. The rule is you go to the winter semester – that is, in August. However, it is also possible in the summer semester.
And what level should a player have?
For girls in the U-17 Bundesliga or women’s regional league, for boys in the U-19 regional league. However, we have also retained the players of the Under-19 Association League. Given everyone the opportunity to evaluate their potential, we will not take on someone we do not see as a real opportunity.
You address the candidates directly – how is the distribution in one year?
About 60 percent come to us, 40 percent we hire ourselves.
At what age does it start?
Girls often stay ahead in their personal plans, starting at age 16. In the best case scenario, you go there as soon as you graduate at the age of 18. But of course it demands: you have to study for the Abitu test, but at the same time you have to take care of the language test and usually carry the whole ‘USA equipment’ forward. Ideally, players will be in our pool one to two years before they graduate – there is no such thing as too early in time.
And when is your age?
Basically, we first look at the personal situation of individual players, which depends less on age and more on how long they graduate from school. A gap year (One year rest) Possible, but then you need to be admitted to an American college to get a chance to study. Players can travel to the United States as “transfer students” who are already enrolled at a university in Germany. A bachelor’s degree is also possible in the United States after a bachelor’s degree in Germany.
How much can you choose where you want to go?
Of course there is one thing: if a player says he wants to go to the big city, we will not contact a university in the country. And then we’ll see how the response is: in terms of performance level, financial structure, etc., do we get the right package? The final decision is always made by the player and his family. We are available to advise and make our recommendations.
Is there a college that has a particularly good reputation? Where is everyone going?
Clear. For boys it’s Santa Barbara, for girls it’s Stanford.
Sounds expensive. Who can rely on having all the cost cover?
This so-called ‘full ride’, meaning a full scholarship, involves a sum of between ,000 200,000 and 300 300,000 until it is completed. We can give it to some girl in the group every year. For boys, this is more of an exception than the rule, with most of them having to cut between 8 8,000 and ,000 12,000 a year – something that costs a university degree here in Germany, including all the cuts. In general, there are three pillars: tuition fees, accommodation, food – depending on the scholarship, one is included and the other is not. You need to look closely and sometimes revisit.
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What can colleges actually get out of this? Why are they investing so much money in scholarships for talented athletes?
Fame. College athletics is a multi-billion dollar industry and internally associated with school branding and reputation. A successful sports team ensures a very positive public image in the competition that exists among the universities. If you can score points with athletes who can then play professionally, this is the best ad for colleges.
Who actually pays you for your work? University?
No, they should not spend any money on it. We end contracts with players or their parents. We accept only a small deposit for this. The actual brokerage fee will be paid only after successful completion. We allow ourselves to be measured by the success of our placement.
The training factor – it’s taken seriously, isn’t it? One must hear from football and basketball fields that college stars are already getting along very well with academics …
We have no personal experience with this. In general, the first year is a kind of refresher almost everywhere, and it makes it easier for you to settle down. But then it will rise, you have to be there and stay with it. But if we compare the level of performance: our German players have always had a good average, there are very few who got bad grades or failed.
So is the academic level low?
It is also worth noting that the students get a lot of help there. And, that’s interesting: coaches are also measured by the grade of the players. This means: if a team has a very good grade, it gets more funding again. So he is keen to let the players not let their academics slip. There are sometimes penalties for bad grades and you can’t play anymore. Also, players with good academic standards have the opportunity to increase their scholarship in later years.
How can you imagine the football that is played there?
Very athletic, fast and technical. Strategically somewhat neglected from the German point of view. However, it is common for players in colleges to be physically handicapped. In preparation for the season, training is sometimes done twice a day.
At the end of the day, will every player in your organization be kept?
Yes, it usually is. The boys have an average of three to five offers. There could be many more for the girls, because the competition is not so big. It is also that we see ourselves as a premium agency. We carefully select the players who join our pool, they have an extensive network and an approved agreement with the US Federation. The coach relies on our personal recommendations.
Do you have figureheads – the players who “made it”?
The most well-known name is of course Laura Freigang, although we put her with the state of Pennsylvania, she was already a national team player. At that time, despite the offer from the women’s Bundesliga, she decided to go to the United States and repeatedly traveled to Germany for training courses. We have no one with the boys who ended up in MLS. Paul Huffmister was once nominated for a draft but was not elected. But many of our players have been honored and respected in their universities and leagues.