Former Leeds United and Republic of Ireland star Ian Harte is set to become an agent in a huge change in his career path, according to ESPN.
In an attempt to pass his experience onto the young footballers of today, the 38-year-old feels that it is the right time to retire from professional football and to make the career change.
Harte is set to join highly respectable agent Rob Segal’s sports agency, Impact Sports, to gain the experience needed to become a top agent.
The career change may come as a shock to most, but when speaking to ESPN, the ex-full-back speaks of his excitement.
“I am really looking forward to the new career path,” he commented. “I have known Rob for 12 years and he has been great for me.
“The agency side of things has always been something that has interested me. I have been on the other side as a player and I know the pitfalls that can face players.
“There are so many sharks out there, agents who have never kicked a ball in their lives and who know nothing about the game and who are only thinking about how much money they can make out of their client.
“I will work with the younger players and I will be very hands on as I will be around to give them advice on anything they need.”
The ex-Leeds star is eager to mentor his future clients as people and as footballers, aiming to become a respectable agent that isn’t all about making money.
He added: “There are a lot of young players out there who need their career managed properly and I feel I could offer a lot with the experience I have gained throughout my career.”
Ian Harte has enjoyed a 20 year playing career in which he accumulated over 500 domestic appearances and 63 caps for his country – playing primarily at full-back, his career took off at Leeds where he made nearly 200 appearances.
Yet despite being a fan favourite at Elland Road, he decided to look elsewhere to develop his career after the West Yorkshire side’s relegation from the Premier League in 2004.
After a three-year spell at Spanish side Levante, he spent the rest of his career at five English clubs and has recently helped Bournemouth win their first ever promotion to the Premier League.
Harte feels that his experience of football will help him drastically as an agent.
When asked about his proudest moments as a player, he added: “Playing for Leeds in the Champions League semifinals, scoring in the quarterfinal against Deportivo and then winning promotion to the Premier League with Reading and Bournemouth.
“Then playing in a World Cup [in 2002] for my country”
However, there were lows in his career too, all of which will add to his experience of what players’ might be feeling.
“There was also the lows of seeing Leeds suffer relegation from the Premier League and that was very sad, but that is what football is about the emotions of winning and losing.”
Despite the fact that Harte has received enquiries from a number of Championship and League One clubs for his services, he is now ready to retire and make the leap to the another aspect of football.
Whether or not he will enjoy the change, remains to be seen.
Leeds United fans….. How much of a legend was Ian Harte? Are you happy for him? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!