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Irish Superleague Info

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Post#1 Irish Superleague Info
Tue Jun 5, 2012 11:18 pm by Paulaly45

How much does an American in the Irish superleague make on average? I just graduated and played D2 basketball now I am weighing my options. I want to play basketball in Ireland very badly but want to get an idea of how much these players make. I know the Americans are paid most on the team. What other benefits do they receive?? Any and all info is helpful!
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Post#2 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Fri Jun 8, 2012 6:19 pm by Sabas11

I've been living in Ireland for 4 years so I thought I could chime in.

A few caveats: I am by no means an expert in how basketball works here. Secondly, a lot of what follows will probably seem overly pessimistic, but please understand I am not trolling/trying to get some sort of satisfaction by trying to crush your dreams. I will try to provide a realistic outlook with the limited info I have. Lastly I also assume you are serious about starting a professional career in Europe, which leads me to this first observation:

I am surprised that one would consider Ireland as a place to start. Any particular reason why? Is it just to avoid the language barrier? Family ties maybe?

First a few facts about Ireland: Ireland is a small country with limited ressources. As you probably know, the country is currently in very bad financial shape, and will probably be for at least the next decade, unless there is major political change on a continental level (not impossible).

Basketball is not a popular sport in Ireland and there is only one fully, professionally organised sport here: rugby. Not even football (soccer) has a professional league, they are semi-professional only, like basketball. Semi-professional basically means that some teams can have as many as 5-6 players that play for a living, with a proper a employment contract, while others only have 1 or 2. Some teams have none and rely solely on amateur players (example: the University of Dublin, whose team competes in the Superleague)

The number of pro players on a given team depends on its budget and fluctuates on a yearly basis. Clubs rely on private sponsors and public subsidies to form their budgets. There is no TV rights money available as basketball is not televised here. Given the state of the economy, the likely trend is that ressources will get scarcer for basketball, and really for semi-professional sport in general.

The level of basketball in the Superleague is weak. I don't really have an idea of how good your average NCAA D2 player is, but I assume you were recruited and given a scholarship right? The good news is, in my opinion, that alone means you are good enough to play over here.
If you do manage to get a pro contract, I think you can expect to earn a maximum (i.e you will probably get less than that as a rookie) of 30-35k EUR per annum before tax. Deduct roughly 12-15% for an after-tax figure. That's a decent wage that will allow you to get a good apartment in Dublin and to save a bit, but you won't live like a king. I woudn't count on material advantages, other than small stuff such as a free meal after practice/games, a free pair of sneakers, or small things of that nature . You might get a team to lend you a car or perhaps even to pay part of your rent but I reckon that would be the exeception rather than the rule.

If a team is interested in you but can't offer you a pro contact, they will probably try to attract you by offering a job opportunity, usually at one of their sponsors. The position and wage you will be offered depends on your education and work experience. In that case, a team will also typically arrange for some kind of ''under the table'' payment, say a bonus if your team wins, if you score 20 points etc... but I would imagine that's only anecdotal money in the grand scheme of things.

That's basically it as far as my knowledge of basketball in Ireland is concerned. To be blunt, I think it is very risky to try and begin your career here. You will probably be very good in the domestic league, but it would be a bad strategy trying to use this as a stepping stone to get into bigger European leagues, as you only have a tiny chance of getting noticed, unless you put up Wilt-like numbers (in which case you shouldn't be playing in Ireland in the first place). The fact is nobody scouts players from Ireland. Their national team struggles against the likes of Luxemburg and Cyprus.

After reading this, you might think that I'm a condescending douche, but please believe when I say that's not the case. After all, I know nothing about your goals and if you simply want to live in Ireland and play basketball, that's totally respectable. But as a basketball junkie who once contemplated to earn a living playing the game, please allow me to offer some advice.

1. Contact a sports agency. Yeah it costs money and that sucks. However it's to your advantage to get professional advice and you will be taken more seriously than if you apply by sending youtube links. I'm pretty sure some agencies are specialised in placing US players in small European markets. For example, in France there is professional basketball down to the 3rd best division. In Spain, I believe it is down to the 5th best. You have a higher chance of getting noticed (and even of having a better contract) there than in a country with almost no basketball culture, even if you can't make it to the top tier right away. I would even consider Scandinavian countries or Holland as, unlike Ireland, they have teams in European cups. Everyone speaks English there too.

2. Do some research on your family tree. If you can prove you have roots in a European country of the Schengen area, apply for a passport in said country. If accepted, you will be considered a citizen of the EU and your chance to get work will increase ten-fold. As an American, you are at a disadvantage because some leagues have quotas on players from outside the EU, and, depending on local legislation, you might also get taxed heavily.

Ok I've witten a long post and I hope it won't be totally worthless. I you feel like it, I would love to read any impression and see how your projects unfold, as I am genuinely interested. Good luck.
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Post#3 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Sat Jun 9, 2012 10:48 am by Raptor_Claw

I really have no idea how much they get paid, but I would guess it's something like 1,500 to 2,000 euros a month.
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Post#4 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:13 pm by Paulaly45

Hi Sabis11,
Thank you so much for that response! I very much appreciate your experience and knowledge! So basically here is a little about me... yes I was a scholarship player and was on a very good team so I have been told this Ireland level is fine for me. My mother was born in Ireland, making me an Irish citizen and I have the passport and everything (allowing me to take away from the American quota) I am about 6'7 and can play both inside and outside. Basically why I want to play in Ireland is because I have family there and a lot of passion for the country. My grand parents along with aunts and uncles and cousins live there and I am very close with many of them.
I am not looking to live like a superstar, I just want to make a decent wage doing something I love in a place that I love. if this 2000 euro figure is accurate, that is enough for me! How likely are these teams to want me is basically my question, I have an agent and he is looking into this and a few other countries but basically he has a tough time being realistic with me and doesnt want to get my hopes up or down. Are these teams likely to take an American player with the Irish status there?
Also how does practice work, I will only get paid a wage for the season correct? I have also been told I can be set up with other jobs which will take place during the weeks as practice is generally at night. any more info with this??
anything is greatly appreciated!
Thanks again so much and I will keep you updated!
Paulaly45
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Post#5 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Sat Jul 7, 2012 6:02 pm by Sabas11

Ok, if you have an Irish passport and family ties in Ireland that makes perfect sense. This is actually huge for you in my opinion. Basically you will be seen as a player who has an American profile without the hassle of having to deal with complicated paperwork/work authorization, etc.. You having family ties in the country will also mean stability and that you're not a ''mercenary'' who is ready to jump ships at short notice. Teams will like that for sure. Also 6'7 is a perfect height for the Irish league.

So my educated guess is that it is likely some teams will at least show some interest. As far as wage is concerned, FWIW I am currently on 28K EUR per annum (sigh) in my current job and that is exactly 2015 EUR per month after tax. That figure is probably above the medium salary for pro basketball players but I'm pretty sure the top earners get more, in the region of 32-35K. Wages figures are not publicly available though, so please don't take my word for it. Also I'd reckon the team would give a contract for the duration of the season only, meaning you will have to work on your own during the offseason.

As far as practices go, I know someone who used to play for the University of Dublin (UCD) and they used to have 3 practice sessions per week, 2.5 hours each, in the evening. Because the league relies heavily on amateurs, it is very likely all teams practice in the evening. Some teams may practice every evening for a shorter time, I guess it depends on the availability of their infrastructure. Practices at UCD were conducted by the team's head coach and assitant coach and were based on basic basketball drills, shooting and team strategies/system. Players were expected to keep in shape and train physically on their own. A team doctor was present once a week.

As far your other question goes, it is easy to combine 2 jobs in Ireland so if you get a contract you have the option of working part-time on the side, or even full-time if you can handle it. I can't guarantee your team will be able to provide one straight away though, as unemployment is quite high these days (14-15%), and it would also depend on your qualifications. One area you could look into is to offer basketball classes for youths. Although basketball is not very popular among adults, it is the 4th most popular among children under 16 and it is estimated 180 000 children play it regularly. You could offer your services and charge what you want and see if this is a viable way to get a complementary income.

On another note, you could also try out for the Irish national team as this would raise your exposure. Ireland currently plays in the B group of European basketball, so they do not play the big nations but still I would imagine that their games are scouted by clubs of lesser-known basketball leagues.
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Post#6 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Sun Jul 8, 2012 10:43 pm by Paulaly45

Thank you so much for all this information, I am so grateful! is there anyway I can message you/find your email you to email you privately. As you can see i am new to the site haha so i could not exactly figure that out. I can also just give you my email if you know how that would be possible without posting it publicly.
Thanks again so much!!
Paulaly45
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Post#7 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:50 pm by Sabas11

I tried to send you a private message but could not do it, I assume you have to reach a certain number of posts to enable the function?
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Post#8 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:19 pm by Paulaly45

Hi Sabas, I have posted my email in my profile and it should now be viewable. Why dont you shoot me a quick email to this address when you see it and I will reply with much more information. Thanks so much!
Paulaly45
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Post#9 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:18 am by Paulaly45

Sabas11 wrote:I tried to send you a private message but could not do it, I assume you have to reach a certain number of posts to enable the function?


Ok my email should be posted in my profile! Let me know if you have any other questions and I should be able to be contacted easily through there. Thanks a lot so much and I would love to hear much more about your current and past experiences
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Post#10 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:59 pm by Paulaly45

Anyone else with some info that can help me on the subject?? Anything is appreciated
Paulaly45
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Post#11 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:10 pm by Greek

I live in Cyprus, i follow the game for more than 20 years, and Irish league just doesnt exist. If you are serious about a basketball career even my small country is way better place to start . If its a just a hobby for you then i have nothing to say...Have in mind that Darell Armstrong (former ORL Magic PG) started his career from here. I am not suggesting you to play here, but Irish league its not an option.

So your best bet to make a career here is to start from a country that has tradition on the game even on the lower leagues, like Greece, Spain, Lithuania, France, former Yougoslavian countries like Serbia Croatia, Slovenia etc, some x-USSR countries too, since those countries have most importantly some very coaches. Even Belgium is better...Germany...Mike Batiste started his career from Belgium, then some stint in Italy and during that time was an SF/PF twiner. Then he moved to Greece for Panathinaikos and the coach Obradovic, for like 300k. The result? 3 Euroleague titles, with him converting to PF/C, and on his 34 his asking salary is more than 1M.

So its all about your goals...you wanna be a player? or just have fun?

A video of you maybe can help me to understand your abilities, and will be easier for me to advice you.

If you wanna contact me with an email zidros hotmail but keep in mind that i dont have any connections with any team. I am just a basketball junkie...
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Post#12 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:46 pm by Paulaly45

Thanks for the info Greek. Why have so many people spoken about the Irish league and said it is a legit option? I also know other players who have played there and said it was a good stepping stone. Currently, there are many d1 college players from the US in the league, were they not looking to be competitive? Just looking for more info as you clearly have more knowledge than me! also any idea for salaries in any of these countries (cyprus or other east eu countries spoken about along with ireland)?


Greek wrote:I live in Cyprus, i follow the game for more than 20 years, and Irish league just doesnt exist. If you are serious about a basketball career even my small country is way better place to start . If its a just a hobby for you then i have nothing to say...Have in mind that Darell Armstrong (former ORL Magic PG) started his career from here. I am not suggesting you to play here, but Irish league its not an option.

So your best bet to make a career here is to start from a country that has tradition on the game even on the lower leagues, like Greece, Spain, Lithuania, France, former Yougoslavian countries like Serbia Croatia, Slovenia etc, some x-USSR countries too, since those countries have most importantly some very coaches. Even Belgium is better...Germany...Mike Batiste started his career from Belgium, then some stint in Italy and during that time was an SF/PF twiner. Then he moved to Greece for Panathinaikos and the coach Obradovic, for like 300k. The result? 3 Euroleague titles, with him converting to PF/C, and on his 34 his asking salary is more than 1M.

So its all about your goals...you wanna be a player? or just have fun?

A video of you maybe can help me to understand your abilities, and will be easier for me to advice you.

If you wanna contact me with an email zidros hotmail but keep in mind that i dont have any connections with any team. I am just a basketball junkie...
Paulaly45
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Post#13 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Sun Aug 5, 2012 7:30 am by Greek

As it is Cyprus now is not an option either. Also the money should not be the 1st for you right now. What you need is good coaching and exposure. Greece has both, but they are not reliable on the payments. Physical league, D coming 1st.
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Post#14 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:13 am by Paulaly45

Thank you to all for the lot of information!
Wanted to let you all know that I signed a contract to play in the UK, and will be stationed close to my fathers side of the family playing in Liverpool. The money isnt great, but its the opportunity for playing time I'm looking forward to. I leave in about 6 weeks and will be sure to keep you all updated.
For anyone with info about the UK style of play and strength of schedule it is much appreciated
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Post#15 Re: Irish Superleague Info
Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:00 pm by Greek

I would love to watch a video from you...to see what you can do and what not...
Greek
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