Our interview with the players’ agent Dzuljeta Tamsone (AS Sport Management)
At first, I would like to ask you your story: how did your passion for talks start?
It is an accident to some extent. A couple of years ago when I moved to Germany, I got to know Artem Sikulskyi, he invited me to join his ambitious and unique project AS-Sport Management and many thanks go to him. We began to work step by step developing our ideas further and growing the network, it happened just when I had retired from my football career. That moment was perfect to transform from player’s to the manager’s role. One day, shortly before the summer transfer period, Artem called me and told a story about Russian national team player Marina Fedorova, Artem was looking for offers from Europe for her. I said – “I will help, send me the information”. Since that day I am negotiating to clubs on daily basis and fully running our women’s football part in the agency. You are right to call it “passion”, because it truly is my passion to talk to clubs, meet with directors, coaches and players. I am very interested in how every team is managed, I learn from their management techniques, compare them and make conclusions for myself what I would do if I would be in their position – would I act the same or would I choose different tactics.
What do you think about women’s football in Russia? And about women’s football in Italy?
Russia is a huge country that does have many concerns around its politics and governmental support to the whole society, only then comes football and only after that somewhere comes women’s football. In Russia families still have a huge stereotype that a girl should not play football and should rather cook or dance. Regarding women’s football, the federation is trying to push Premier League clubs to have their own women’s team, that contributes to new teams who will join the league this season such as “Zenit” and “FK Krasnodar”. This is very good sign, however, the football is still not as accessible for many girls in the country, since the league does not cover all regions to have a representative club from each.
We hear a lot of men’s teams struggling on more amateur level in Russia, so as I said, women’s football comes after men’s, which means that women’s football is still in a phase to develop on grassroots level in many regions. Talking about the national team players, we are in touch with many of them, and they are interesting to some top division clubs in Europe. Even though I would advise to some girls to put more work into their decision-making power and confidence on the pitch, especially in international games, to be ready to overtake the responsibility and make difference in the game. At the end of the day it is the highest value for clubs – players that can impact and change the game’s result.
Italian women’s football is ahead, same story, recently more big men’s clubs created a women’s team, which is right investment for the future. In 10 years’ time we will wonder how women’s football will be significantly more profitable to clubs. Italian Serie A is still behind other top leagues like LaLiga or Bundesliga, but the level increases. I believe it will have even better boost once rules will be modified and every team will have a chance to sign more than 1 or 2 non-EU players, every position will become more competitive, hence, cause the level to improve.
What is your goal in women’s football?
Women’s football is all I have up to today, it became my passion for life, and I did invest my all into it. I will continue to do so for lifetime believe me or not, I think about it 24/7, every time I wake up my first thoughts are – “what can I do for my players and our projects to become better”. To be honest, by the time I wake up my phone already has at least 10 new messages about various things regarding agency. My people know that I am all about football and nothing else. I have made decisions in my life in favor of football and since then it did not change.
My goal is to make a contribution to the development of the sport, especially in the countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. To be precise – to become the best agency for female players in Eastern Europe. Now, “the best” does not mean to have the highest number of players, but to treat their interests with highest quality. It is our (AS-Sport Management) belief “quality over quantity”, provide comfortable environment and assistance for self-improvement. Our players should value that we choose them over others, that we give up all our time to them instead of constantly recruiting new ones. Our moto is ALL or NOTHING and we chose to go all in.
Generally speaking, I want to prove that everything is possible when you work for it. I already have things to showcase, but we will not stop, we are going for more and more. To give an example, last summer we made one strategic move for a female player from Latvia and 7 other players from Latvia followed her actions to go to play abroad too – this is the effect we have on the market and trends. Latvia never had so many female players abroad. For AS it is much more about the impact, all our actions have a reason behind.
How are you living this time? How do you work as a player’s agent?
During the quarantine, while our players cannot perform on the field, together with my colleague Artem Sikulskyi we have decided to take an initiative to receive 0% commission from our players’ salaries. We want to support our athletes in every bit we can, especially, in these difficult times, when nobody had an answer how it will continue. We are active on communicating to clubs as some of our players have contracts ending and we want to provide them alternatives to achieve their best.
In addition, we receive a lot of inquiries from new players, that want to be represented by us and we spend time on reviewing, evaluating candidates, whether we can give them good chance to show themselves. Other than that, our agency AS-Sport Management that not only works with players, has postponed other projects like football tournaments in Bulgaria, Germany, Italy and Spain to year 2021, while we might still try to host one in September 2020.
We use current time for preparation and improving our administrative work as well as packages of our new offerings that are coming soon, something that is existing from rare to none in the Eastern European market. Follow us, it will be exciting, and it will be a clear example of our value – individual approach.
Now I would like to ask you about your women’s players in Italy:
– Orobica in near to downgrade, so I don’t think Karin Muya wants to go back to Serie B, so: are you looking for a club for her? Are there any offers or appreciation?
Karin Muya was my transfer to Orobica, at that time I had two offers for her in Italy. However, I am not the direct agent of Karin Muya on daily basis, it is our partner. Karin is a good player with unopened potential in Europe yet. Hence, I will tell you that even if Orobica stays in Serie A, there is probability that she will move to another club and more offers might come soon.
– About Angelina Jegorova I would like to ask you if Pomigliano would confirm her.
I cannot comment on this situation, since I am not in charge of Angelina. She is my former teammate from my hometown Liepaja, we have started to play football together relatively in the same time.
– Napoli is close to promotion to Serie A, so: wants the club to confirm Lisette Tammik?
We are in good contact with Lisette, for the quarantine she stayed in Estonia and at the moment there is no clear direction whether Napoli will be in Serie A next season or not. I believe they do have the right to step up, they have invested enormous work to achieve it in 2 years. Lisette is already scouted and is attractive to other clubs, therefore, it will depend on how much Napoli will want to keep her, until now the club did not open negotiations regarding the next season. Lisette has been a key player for Napoli and has shown that she deserves to play on a higher level, she is getting closer there step by step.
At the end we would like to ask you three women’s talents who you think will be top players in international football in a future.
I think there is no need to highlight players from top football countries in Europe such as Germany, Spain, England or France, these will always produce high level players due to the structure and competitiveness level they have in place. Therefore, I would like to highlight 3 players from not as developed football countries. With these two we are already working – Rimante Jonusaite from Lithuania and Kader Hancar from Turkey. The 3rd one as a young prospect is Karlina Miksone from Latvia. Important to mention, they have huge potential, and everything is only in their hands (and legs) to work hard and make dreams come true, because you won’t get a chance to choose again!
di Niccolò Altobrando