Good play by professional broker nets quality players

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When outstanding Vietnamese American footballer Lee Nguyen transferred to Vietnam early this year, it was news that generated a lot of interest in the media and among fans.

A well attended press conference was held at the Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to mark the arrival of the talented player at V-League club Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL).

After the introduction, as sport reporters began to interview Lee, club president Doan Nguyen Duc approached professional football broker Lyle Yorks and shook his hand, saying, "You have helped HAGL find a good player."

Duc told the media later: "Lee contacted us and we talked via mail and on the phone, and his father Nguyen Van Pham also visited us in (Gia Lai Province's) Pleiku Town and we discussed the matter.

"But all that would have meant nothing without Yorks's arrangement and making necessary documentation. Yorks did everything professionally and in compliance with international and FIFA rules so that our club could sign Lee up.

"We have actually learned from his professionalism in negotiating a deal with a partner."

At the press conference, the Central Highlands club also announced Lee's monthly salary of US$10,000 as well as the $50,000 paid to Yorks for his brokerage services.

In 2007, knowing that HAGL needed good players and was looking to improve in the long run by establishing the HAGL-Arsenal JMG to train junior players with assistance from the English Premier League club,

Yorks came as a representative for Lee with a full profile of the player.

Lee was then playing for PSV Eindhoven, but he was not interested in staying long at the Dutch club after renowned Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, who negotiated with Yorks to get Lee after the U20 World Championship in 2005, left the club.

The new coach wanted players to increase their use of strength, and Lee's style of play, which relies more on skills, was not suited to the new approach.

Yorks then arranged for Lee to play six months for the Danish club Randers. It helped Lee retain his form and continue with his desire to play outside the United States after his stint with FC Dallas in the US.

In 2007, more people got to know about Lee because Yorks recommended him to the then US national squad coach Bruce Arena who called on Lee to play four matches, two of which were in the Copa America tournament.

His excellent performance attracted the attention of Vietnamese fans and HAGL didn't want to miss the chance to contact Yorks to get Lee.

When everything was agreed upon, the V-League club agreed to pay the transfer fee to Randers. All the formalities regarding these arrangements were managed by Yorks.

50 players in hand

Yorks is the manager of Proactive Sports Management USA which has its offices in the US and Britain. He is said to have made huge contributions to American football as he has helped about 20 US players to play in Europe and 50 others to play in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US.

For example, Yorks helped goalkeeper Brad Friedel to transfer to Aston Villa, Clint Dempsey to move to Fulham in England, and DaMarcus Beasley to come to FC Rangers in Scotland.

About 50 talented players have chosen Yorks to represent them when they want to switch the clubs.

Yorks was selected by a magazine as being among the top ten contributors to US football, coming in fifth after David Beckham and US national football squad coach Bob Bradley, who were tied in fourth place, according to the US Football Association.

Says Lee: "I totally rely on Yorks for my career. He is very special. He is very professional. His company always protects the players' interests and nothing wrong has ever happened.

"It was he who told the US national team coach about my fitness and form. As they are close friends, he could give me a chance to join the US national squad."

Lee also said Yorks arranged for him to come to Vietnam for a trial for half a day at HAGL. Last December Lee flew more than 20 hours from the US to Ho Chi Minh City and came to Pleiku in the morning to play in a match against Binh Dinh in the afternoon, in which he scored a hat-trick.

Lee said, "Yorks' arrangement was so good that it made me feel comfortable and confident at HAGL and fit in the club very soon."

In Lee's transfer to HAGL, Yorks not only received the $50,000 fee from the Vietnamese club but was also paid by the Danish club and likely by Lee as well.

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