Seven months on from hanging up his boots the former Perth Glory and Gold Coast United defender Bas van den Brink shares with the PFA his decision to retire and life in his new role as a player agent with the Dutch PFA.

“I remember being sat in my kitchen feeling pretty bad because I knew I had to retire,” Bas van den Brink said of the moment when he realised his playing days were over. “I was talking to a Dutch agent who was trying to get me a deal in Germany and he said ‘look mate a few clubs are a little interested but nothing that I can say you can definitely go there.’ I gave myself until the next week and I thought this is going nowhere I’m going to have to retire.”

Having spent the previous four years starring in the A-League and at just 31 van den Brink was hopeful of playing for a few more seasons before contemplating retirement. However, it was not meant to be for the tough tackling defender who instead had to speed up his plans for life after football.

After accessing the PFA Education fund in his final season in the A-League, with Perth Glory, the Dutchman completed his Masters in Sports Management with the clear goal of becoming a player agent post football.

“I knew while I was playing football that I would love to be a player agent because of my good and bad experiences,” said van den Brink. “When I was at Perth I was a PFA Delegate also and I got to see how players were treated and what happens at some clubs. I enjoyed being a part, not a big role, but part of a team that helps players. I also organised some of my own deals and thought I really wanted to do it. I thought to be able to do it with the PFA would be perfect for me.”

However, despite all his planning and preparation the former FC Utrecht player said it was still not easy to make the transition after football.

“I had tried to prepare myself the best I could but it was still hard. You have this whole range of new possibilities and the world is suddenly very open and you have to make decisions. I was not used to thinking about things that had nothing to do with a training and playing schedule.”

It would take time for van den Brink to find his feet. Before deciding to retire he had meet with the Dutch PFA President Danny Hesp, who had mentioned the possibility of working as a player agent for the association. Still unsure of whether he would carry on playing or not he was unable to commit either way.

Once the decision to hang up his boots was made, feeling “motivated and focused to forge a second career,” van den Brink began the process of moving on after football.

“I had interviews with other player agents and with the Dutch PFA, it took a while but in November (2013) I knew I was going to get the job. It was a long process but it was definitely worth waiting for.”

After starting his new role on the first of January 2014 van den Brink said it had so far more than lived up to expectations.

“It’s very busy but great. We only go to the office once a week to discuss many issues that can face players, like their rights and education programs.  The rest of my time is taken up with getting in touch with players and watching games. I think I have watched more games in the last month than I did in the 12 months before that. On Friday I watch a game, watch two on Saturday and two again on Sunday then one on Monday and in between I am constantly staying in touch with players and clubs and making sure everybody knows what I’m doing and who I’m working for.”

Having witnessed first hand the positive and negative impact agents can have on the careers of players the former Perth defender said he would use these experiences to ensure he always acted in the best interest of the player even if it meant telling them what they did not want to hear.

“A lot of agents have a tendency to make things look better than they are so they can pull a player in but if you are honest then they appreciate it. I appreciated it when I was a player. The agent who I stayed with for the longest was always honest with me. He would tell me ‘look you’re playing second division in Holland now, we can make it sound all fancy but you just need to play better.’

“Honesty is the most important thing for me and making sure I do everything possible to get my player the best possible deal. It’s hard when you hear it at first, you don’t want to be confronted with reality but in the end it’s so much better when someone actually tells you where you stand, rather than tell you that with the right agent you can be the next Messi or Ronaldo.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in football. There are short-term deals, you can go on loan or be released and you don’t often have a lot of time to think about what is the best thing to do. If you have an agent they need to be someone who gives you as much certainty as possible rather than someone who just makes things more uncertain.”

Far from focused solely on a players on field welfare van den Brink said he would also encourage them to do as he did and prepare for life post football whilst they were still playing.

“It would have been very hard for me if I had waited until I finished playing to start studying. I think from a motivation point of view it would be hard to get into it again.

“I think it is good to develop yourself and see what is happening around you whilst you are playing. It’s easy to do nothing and retire and then sit around and feel sorry for yourself and wait for someone to come around and just offer you a job but that’s not going to happen. You have to put in time and make an effort.”

For van den Brink putting in an effort whilst still playing has ensured he has been able to forge a new and exciting career where his passion for football is just as fulfilled as it was on the pitch.