Former international soccer legends – Deco, Landon Donovan, Luis Hernandez, and Juan Sebastian Verón – will discuss their lives and career transitions after retiring as players, in “After the Final Whistle – What Players Do Next” the closing session at Soccerex USA, this November 15/16 in Miami.
With the average player forced to consider retirement in their early to mid thirties, soccer stars are forced to reinvent themselves, seeking an alternative career to the one they have known all their lives. At Soccerex USA, these four elite players will share the challenges they have faced since hanging up their boots and look at the different pathways players take into fields such as coaching, club ownership and administration, player management and media work.
Portuguese legend Deco had a hugely successful seventeen-year career on the field, winning titles for all the clubs he played for. He won eleven trophies with Porto, five with Barcelona, four with Chelsea and three with Fluminense, on top of numerous individual awards. In his career, Deco won two Champions League titles – one with Porto, and one with Barcelona. Following his retirement from soccer, Deco has founded D20 Sports, an agency that specialises in the management of athletes and coaches, where he is the CEO. D20 Sports is. With his experiences on both side of the divide, Deco’s insight into this topic will be fascinating.
The second member of the panel is the US Men’s National Team legend, Landon Donovan. Having played in the MLS, Liga MX, Bundesliga and Premier League, Donovan has a wealth of experience all over the world. He holds numerous individual records in Major League Soccer, having won 6 MLS Cups and being the all-time scorer with 145 goals. With the USMNT, he is the only player to reach the 50 goals/50 assists mark. Donovan became a national hero because of his passion and his natural talent for scoring goals, leading many to refer to him as the greatest soccer player in US history. Following his retirement, Donovan has taken on an advisory role at Swansea City FC, as well as commentating on soccer with FOX Sports.
Joining Deco and Donovan, is Mexican legend Luis Hernandez. Hernández is a former Mexican international known by his nickname “El Matador”. Hernández played as a striker and is the fourth highest goal-scorer of all-time for the Mexican national football team, and their joint-highest goal-scorer in World Cups. He is widely regarded as one of Mexico’s most talented strikers. Hernández played for teams in Mexico, Argentina and the United States. Hernández gained notability during the 1997 Copa America, where he scored six goals and became the tournament’s leading goal scorer. At Soccerex USA, El Matador will bring ideas, experiences and views from a Mexican football perspective.
Rounding off the panel is Argentinean legend Juan Sebastian Verón. Verón’s career began at Estudiantes, in Argentina, spending three years there before moving to Boca Juniors for a short stint. Following his time in Argentina, Juan Sebastián moved to Italy for five years, in which time he played for Sampdoria, Parma and Lazio, winning trophies with both Parma and Lazio. From Lazio, Verón came to England, in a move to Manchester United that made him the most expensive transfer in English soccer at the time. Following Manchester United, Verón moved to Chelsea, from whom he had loan spells at Inter Milan and Estudiantes, winning trophies with both. In 2007, Verón moved back to his boyhood club, Estudiantes, for whom he played for until his retirement, except for one season spent at Brandsen in 2012. The Argentinean retired in 2014, and came out of retirement to play for the club in the Copa Libertadores in 2017. Alongside his club career, Verón played seventy-one matches for Argentina, in which he scored nine goals. In 2012, whilst playing for Estudiantes, Verón became their Director of Sports, before becoming Chairman of the Argentinean club in 2014 following his retirement. With his wealth of knowledge about soccer in a number of countries, and experience in senior roles at a soccer club, Verón will be a fantastic addition to this discussion.
“After the Final Whistle – What Players Do Next” will be part of an industry leading conference programme at Soccerex USA that is being developed in conjunction with an advisory board containing representatives from Concacaf, MLS and US Soccer.
Soccerex USA is sponsored by the London Football Exchange, the world’s first fully integrated soccer club stock exchange and marketplace, and hosted in partnership with General American Capital Partners. The two day event will take place at Miami’s iconic Marlins Park and will comprise an exhibition showcasing the latest soccer business, performance and technology innovations.
Soccerex USA will include a programme of structured and informal networking events to connect delegates from across the USA and the rest of the world and it will feature a market leading conference agenda, with international experts tackling topics such as league expansion, women’s soccer, youth development, eSports, stadia technology, investment and new commercial opportunities.