SBJ/August 14-20, 2017/Labor and Agents

Stellar’s expansion includes partnership with U.S. soccer firm

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owerhouse British soccer player representation firm Stellar Group has set down stakes in the U.S. by partnering with American soccer player representation firm Global Premier Management, which will now become Stellar USA.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“It is not an acquisition,” said Patrick McCabe, a soccer agent who founded Global in 2012. “It’s really a partnership/merger.”
McCabe, who represents about 60 soccer players, including MLS players in the U.S. and American players in Europe, will become president of Stellar USA Soccer and will be based in Boston. He will work with Stellar Group agents and its founder and chairman, Jonathan Barnett.

McCabe
The Stellar Group, which is based in London, has offices in Liverpool, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Brussels, Madrid and Munich, and represents upward of 200 soccer players worldwide, including some of the biggest stars of the sport. Stellar Group’s clients include West Ham United goalkeeper Joe Hart, Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale, Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, Manchester United left back Luke Shaw and Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana.

McCabe, meanwhile, built a practice of representing MLS players starting 20 years ago in 1997, when he worked with the former Woolf Associates. Global Premier employs three agents and has offices in Boston, New York and Orlando. Since 1999, McCabe has represented 58 players selected in the first round of the MLS draft, 41 of whom were taken in the top 10. Current clients include Tim Ream, an American who plays defender for Fulham FC and for the U.S. national team, and stars of the MLS including Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan, forward Deshorn Brown of D.C. United, rookie sensation Julian Gressel of Atlanta United, and Philadelphia Union midfielder Derrick Jones.

McCabe said he is partnering with Stellar to provide more access and opportunities for the U.S. soccer players he recruits and to help Stellar transfer its clients into MLS. “This will help open doors for the best American players who wish to go abroad,” McCabe said. “Conversely, we will be able to place Stellar’s clients in the MLS as it seeks global stars.”

Stellar client Gareth Bale signed a six-year, $194.8M deal with Real Madrid last year.
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Barnett is known for getting big deals for his clients — Bale signed a six-year deal valued at $194.8 million last fall — and he wants to bring his expertise and dealmaking style to the U.S. In a telephone interview from London, he said he had been looking at expanding his agency into the U.S. for some time, to both find and manage the best young soccer players in the U.S. and help place the best European players on MLS teams.

“I’ve known Patrick for a long time, maybe more than 10 years,” Barnett said. “Obviously we respect him and respect his business. About two months ago we started talking to Patrick about taking his business and putting it with Stellar. And that is what we decided to do, so we can expand the companies into America.”

Stellar opened an NFL player representation firm in Atlanta earlier this year and hired NFL agent Reggie Johnson to run it. The division has three clients: Denver Broncos offensive tackle Menelik Watson, Broncos safety Orion Stewart and Atlanta Falcons safety Jordan Moore.

“In the next two or three years, after we get the NFL going, we will go and do this in the NBA,” Barnett said.

> WME SIGNS VASGERSIAN: WME has signed MLB Network and Fox Sports broadcaster Matt Vasgersian for representation. A team of WME agents, led by Jon Rosen and Jim Ornstein, will represent Vasgersian. He was formerly represented by Creative Artists Agency.

> PLAYERSREP SIGNS NFL PLAYERS: PlayersRep Sports Management has signed Detroit Lions safety Tavon Wilson and San Francisco 49ers defensive back Adrian Colbert.

PlayersRep NFL agents Andy Simms, Wesley Spencer and Cody Recchion will represent the players. Sports International Group formerly represented Wilson. National Sports Agency formerly represented Colbert.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.


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