Rasmus Sundstedt, Johan Samuelsson, Billy Nilsson, Emil Julkunen. JACT, the first floorball player agency in the world, operates behind most of this year’s big transfers. CEO Jonas Thomsson explains how all began, what the processes look like today and how you can become one of over 100 represented clients.
“Actually, it was pretty simple, because clubs which go for this caliber of a player kno the dos and don’ts”, says Jonas Thomsson about the top transfers of this summer. “The players signed with JACT, told us they want to play in Switzerland and then we started working towards finding a proper club. And it worked out pretty fine.”
It might not be difficult to find interested clubs for stars such as Sundstedt, Samuelsson and Nilsson. But it’s not just about that. It’s about the conditions. Swedish players understand the Swiss NLA as a chance to find an adventure in a new country and to money they won’t get in Sweden. But though they might be the best ones, they are not the only ones. Especially the swedish market is “jaded” by high class players.
“In Sweden you have three competitions filled up with top players”, says Thomsson. “The Superligan and the two Allsvenskans. In Switzerland you have elite teams, too. But you won’t be able to fill up you roster with twenty top player. Swedish players become hardened by this strong competition. Physically and mentally. This makes it easier to find top players there.”
Where all started
So obviously the transfer business is getting more and more demanding. And here the crew of JACT saw its niche. “It’s the first letters of our names put together. Jonsson, Andersson, Carlsson and Thomsson. But it’s kind of a wordplay, too”, explains the CEO how the name of his company emerged. “Jakt”, as you pronounce it, means “hunt” in Swedish. “And that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Hunt players”, he says.
All started during Thomsson’s last years as a player at Caperiotäby and his first ones as the manager of KAIS Mora. He was advising old team mates in contract matters and the more he did that, the more obvious it seemed that floorball needs this kind of service. At the Stockholm School of Economics, where he was studying, Thomsson created a business plan.
“Before all started, we sat down together with the Swedish floorball federation and several elite clubs. We explained, what we’re planing to do and the reactions were all the way positive. We also received a lot of valuable feedback”, remembers Thomsson.
The own experience counts a lot, too. Thomsson played in the Swedish Superligan, in the Swiss NLA and with Estonia he participated at four World Championships. In total three of the crew members were club managers themselves, the forth coach with experiences from Sweden’s and Switzerland’s highest competitions. “So we have both perspectives.”
“To do it better”
The reputation of player agents in various other disciplines varies between lousy and crappy. That shall not be the case in floorball. Thomsson understands JACT as a service to the players. “I think it’s about the performance. Therefore we try to convince our clients by transparency and communication. We want to do it better. We grew up with the sport and we are real floorball geeks”, he says.
Of course, JACT wants to earn money. But at the beginning you’re not supposed to pay anything. First of all you sign up to JACT’s database so they know you exist. You only pay when a transfer or a new contract is done.
Nevertheless, floorball is not about millions. “We need to be realistic”, he says. “We believe in doing the job regarding what fee we can charge. However, clients understands, what we can do together in this triangle of club, player and agency. That’s why it works out so well for everyone.”
And what does JACT expect from the clubs? “Those clubs benefit most, that have all prepared, like a contract and a game plan for work and an apartment. If we notice, that a club makes “over promises” and can’t back it up, of course we don’t advise future clients to go there. But that’s common sense, I guess”, describes Thomsson.
If you play in one of the two highest leagues of a major floorball country, you are generally interesting for the JACT database. When contacting the agency, provide them with some basic data, such as your latest floorball references and your off-court qualifications or plans. Recorded games of you playing from the previous season come in handy, too.
JACT will then look for proper teams. Needs and possibilities have to match. “We have been working hard to help players understand, that there are only very few who get the chance to play directly for an SSL or NLA team”, says Thomsson. “But we see today, that the road leading there can go through Allsvenskan, the NLB or a top division team in another country. Pick a team that gives you the best possible opportunity to invest in your development. Don’t go for the logo. This will come when you are good enough anyway.
The time table of club transfers is important, too. In fact, it’s changing a bit. “We have a lot more ‘mid-season’ transfers then before”, explains Thomsson. “And actually, that’s a positive thing. You have the possibility to really try your new life in the four months after christmas. Then clubs are usually short of players or they need new impulses.” However, the tricky part here is, that you don’t get signed or you don’t have a contract for the first half of season. So honest communication between the new club, you and the old club is key.
The most important advise to players, who want to go abroad, is to “take care of their social puzzle”. Flat and job or education have to work out. Then the rest will fly off the shelves, promises Thomsson. You should be prepared for finding twenty new friends and experience adventures. “And perhaps you won’t look back. So take the chance”, Thomsson ends.