You're about to sign with a team... Are you sure you checked everything?
Before signing a contract with a team you need to make sure you have discussed and agreed everything with them. We have come up with a list of things (see below) which need to be discussed. Most of these things are common sense but often, in the recruiting process, many of them get overlooked.
Contracts between players and teams offer a framework of expectations and a degree of security to both sides. You should examine your contract closely, and make sure the language and stipulations are something you can agree to.
Also, remember that to be signed with a team you should NEVER send money to anyone (regardless of the reason) or buy anything (even if you're told that you will be reimbursed). If in doubt you can of course contact Europlayers. If a team insists that you have to pay for something, simply tell them to deduct it from your first month's salary.
Take the time to go through this checklist with your future team before signing a contract with them. Feel free to comment below if anything has been forgotten from the list.
Salary: -How much will you be paid (amount and currency)? -How often will you be paid (is it weekly (which day) or monthly (which date))? -Keep in mind that you will not be making much money and will likely be taking a pay-cut when compared to any 9-5 job you could have had back home. The average team offers a salary that, when combined with your benefits package of housing, flights, etc., will cover your expenses and keep you fed but you don't expect to save much money during your time as an import.
Bonus: -How much is the bonus (amount and currency)? -What do you need to do to get one?
Housing: -What is the exact address of the house/apartment? -How many rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge, etc)? -Ask for some pictures -Will it be a single or shared occupancy? If shared, how many people will you share it with? -Will you get internet access (wifi) in the house/apartment? -Who will pay for the rent (you, team or someone else)? If you have to pay for something, how much will it be? -Who will pay for the utility bills (water, electricity, etc)? If you have to pay for something, how much will it be?
Transportation: -Will the team provide you with a mean of transport (bicycle, car, public transport)? -If public transport: will the team pay for your pass? -If bicycle: will it be shared? If so, how many people will you be sharing it with? -If car: will it be shared? If so, how many people will you be sharing it with? Will you be allowed to use it for private journeys or will it just be to commute to the club/gym? Will you get a petrol/gas allowance? If so, how much?
Club/Training facilities: -What is the exact address? -How far is it from the house/apartment? -How long does it take to get there from the house/apartment?
Gym (if not at the club): -What is the exact address? -What is the website (if any)? -Ask for some pictures -How far is it from the house/apartment? -How long does it take to get there from the house/apartment? -Who will pay for the gym membership?
Equipment/Team gear: -Will it be provided or do you need to bring gear from home (if so, what will you need to bring)?
Airfare (note that you should NEVER be asked to pay for your own air-tickets. Note to teams: you should buy refundable tickets and send them to the player): -Who will pay for the air-tickets? Is it the team, a sponsor (if so, which one?), etc? -How and when (exact dates?) will you be getting there and also returning home? -Will it be a direct flight or will you need to change (if so, where)? -Will you be picked up at the airport by a member of the team?
Medical insurance (VERY IMPORTANT! Injuries happen): -Has the team confirmed that you will have a medical insurance? If so, ask for a proof of insurance including the start and end dates. -What does the insurance cover?
Visa: -How many days will you spend in the country of your new team? -Depending on your country of origin, you might need a visa (eg Visitor permit, Work permit, Professional visa, Student visa, etc). Check this with your local consulate and discuss this with your team before travelling. It is your responsibility to check this BEFORE you travel to the country of your new team. -For information American citizens can usually stay in Europe for 90 days maximum without a visa but please check this as it might change depending on your personal circumstances.
Food: -How many meals per day will be paid by the team? -How will they be paid (cash or partnerships with local restaurants for free daily meals)? -If cash, how much is the daily allowance and how often will it be paid? -If partnerships with local restaurants, where is/are the restaurant(s?). Ask for name and address.
Mobile/Cell Phone (note that you will need to unlock your phone before you leave home if you're planning to use a European sim card in it): -Will the team pay for a pre-paid sim card? If so, will they recharge it? How often?
Former import players/coaches: -Has the team signed import players/coaches in the past? -If so, ask for their contact details (name, email address, phone number) and contact them to discuss their experience with the team.
Other: -Part-time Job/internship: your day won't be as full as it was in college, take advantage of any opportunities to build your resume! -Public events: how many will be asked of you?
Communication is key: If upon arriving you realise that something is not as expected, go and talk to your coach or the team manager. Don't wait! They're here to help you.
What the team will expect from you: -Learn the basic of their language. We recommend the free website/app Duolingo (https://www.duolingo.com)
-Be on time when you have team events, practices and games. You will be the first to show up and the last to leave! You need to set the example for all players on the team. They will all look up to you and see how you carry yourself and follow suit. If you show up late for practice or games, they will feel that they can do the same.
-Football will be your #1 priority: you will be paid to do what you love and also experience a different culture but keep in mind that overseas, the game boasts a status somewhere between amateur and semi-professional. Only a select few teams possess the resources and organization to offer a truly professional setup. This is not to say that there are no teams with impressive sponsorship, resources, professional staffs and media profiles but, before you sign with a team, know what you are getting into. Are these guys football players, or are they a group of men who play football as a hobby? Chances are you and the other imports will be the only contracted, paid players on your team. Everyone else on your team will have a family, school, work, lives outside of football. Thus the degree of commitment—practice attendance, film study, dedication in the weight room—really depends on the culture both of the team and of the country they are playing in. Football will be your job so you will be expected to help out as much as possible. Many teams do jobs in their cities like security for festivals, building things, and many other things that pay for you to be there. When teams need players to help with work, be the first to help out.
-Coaching: you will probably be expected to coach the junior teams, B teams, etc.
-Help with practice plan, game planning, film study and meetings.
-Don't complain about fields: American football is gaining popularity in Europe but soccer is still king. Most American Football teams in Europe get last pick of fields, times, and money from the city. Just make due and be positive.
-Prepare yourself for downtime: remember, your teammates have jobs and lives of their own, and most cannot put these things on hold to entertain the foreigner who will be living in their country for just a few months. You are there to play football, but going to practice, hitting the gym, and watching film can only fill so much time during a 24 hour day. Save up some money before you leave so you can travel and make the most of your opportunity to see the world. And whatever you do, do not let the boredom consume you, or you will surely look back on the free time you took for granted and regret not making the most of your opportunities.
-Don't bring negative attention to yourself or the team. Chances are that there will not be many foreigners in the city so you will be well known as "that guy who does American football". No need to bring negative attention to yourself or worse your team.