Why this matters
Maggie Ntim is one of the first Black woman agents in professional soccer. While the role of a sports agent is too often associated with white men, she is changing the narrative and paving the way for a new generation of agents.
Sports agents have a lot to prove. They have to understand the most miniscule details of operations in leagues, teams, and the game itself. They have to be tenacious and rise above the competition in a cutthroat environment. They must be able to negotiate and create the best contracts for their client. They need to gain their client’s trust and do everything they can to ensure their success as an athlete and beyond.
Maggie Ntim has proven that she can do all of this and more.
In a list of the 50 most powerful sports agents, most are white. All of them are men. Ntim says that she has yet to see a Black agent represent a player going into the NWSL or MLS draft.
Ntim recalls her experience working for FIFA. She says, “There’s just a huge lack of representation. I was always the only Black woman in that circle, in that meeting, at that large event.”
However, she believes that change is on its way.
She uses this year’s NFL draft as an example of changes in representation. Over half of the first-round picks were represented by Black agents. She says, “I thought it was great they were shining the light on them. Now I’m like let’s see if they can do it again next year and shine the light on a few more agents.”
Ntim also points to the young athletes that are starting to commit to HBCUs. She says that in order to elevate Black athletes and Black agents there needs to be more coverage of athletes from these universities.
“You can find great talent in these HBCUs,” she says. “It’s a challenge because you have to explain to the soccer community, ‘Hey, you’ve always looked at the top D1 schools, the UCLAs and Stanfords and all of that, but there’s some superstars coming out of Howard and Hampton so let’s shed some light on that. Let’s dive into that.”
Discussions about race and sport have been amplified due to the surge in international Black Lives Matter movements. Ntim hopes that the changes made in response to BLM are not temporary.
It will take more than PR campaigns, public statements, and name changes to really make a difference. She emphasizes that executive boards need to be held accountable for racism and discrimination in major sports organizations. “Show me a picture of your board of directors,” Ntim says. “And if not, invite us to the table.”
Ntim also makes it a point to support her clients who feel the need to speak out against injustice. “I’m never going to tell you no when you want to fight for something right,” she says. “Before an agent, I’m a Black woman. So I know what it feels like.”
Ntim’s dedication to her clients and to a greater goal of improving representation is inspiring. She is a trailblazer who is paving the way for a new generation of talented, powerful agents.
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