Grit and Determination: The Makings of a Successful NFL Agent

Sarah Rodriguez, Editor-In-Chief

CSUEB Alumnus, Sam Mirza shares his leap from a young college student to an acclaimed sports agent.

In what began with a passion for football and a knack for striking a deal, CSUEB Alumnus Sam Mirza merged the two, making a name for himself as a Certified NFL Agent with Steinberg Sports and Entertainment.

Like many, Mirza’s story didn’t always begin with success. As a small fish in a large pond, during his early days of recruiting, Mirza was perceived as a rather young and “inexperienced” agent, attempting to pursue top prospects.

“I was recruiting guys all the ‘big dogs’ were going after,” Mirza said. As he began to recruit football players around the age of 22 to 23, Mirza was competing against a sea of much older and established sports agents; many of which had been in the industry for longer than he had been alive.

During his time as a student at CSUEB, the budding sports agent developed a mentorship relationship with the respected Sports Agent, Angelo Wright, who represented iconic Bay Area players like Tim McKyer, Don Griffin, and Roger Craig. Soon, Mirza took up a role as an Athlete Agent at SportsWest Football alongside Wright, where he learned the “Do’s and Don’ts” of the sports recruiting industry.

Soon after Mirza graduated from CSUEB, the fresh alum made the tough decision to branch away from the mentorship of Wright in order to “elevate my career to the next level,” he said.

Reflecting on such a bold decision, the agent emphasized the importance of making that career-changing while you’re still young. Mirza began his journey sooner than most: landing an internship right out of high school with a sports agency. With an early start, he accredited his career-long resilience to his youth.

“The thing is when you are young, you have the time and luxury of making mistakes. When you are 18 years old you can make a major mistake and rebound from it, compared to when you are 35 years old and you have a family and responsibilities.”

Maintaining this ambitious mindset and a recent college graduate himself, Mirza began recruiting college athletes. After he split from SportsWest Football, Mirza and his high school best friend went on to start their own sports agency, The Mogul Group.

Despite little success, Mirza remains appreciative of the hurdles he faced as an independent agent: “I am very thankful for [the struggles] because it gave me the grit and determination to keep moving past my failures. It gave me that never-giving-up attitude,” Mirza reflected.

Although his independent venture wasn’t as successful as he had hoped, Mirza describes the obstacles he endured as minor setbacks, given his young age. Around 2018, Mirza joined Dan Saffron, a reputable agent in the industry. Saffron’s agency, Players First Sports, later merged with Steinberg Sports and Entertainment—a larger and well-established agency—where Mirza currently resides.

As a transfer student from Chabot College, the young agent pursued a degree in Political Science, with the intent to attend law school after completing his Bachelor’s at CSUEB. As a stark contrast to the world of burly football players and financial negotiations, Mirza attributed his choice of major to his upbringing and cultural background, sharing that, “quite honestly, I come from an immigrant background so, in my culture, it’s either [become a] doctor, lawyer, engineer or failure — and a failure isn’t an option.”

During his time at the university, Mirza was heavily involved in extracurriculars. To Mirza, becoming a brother of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and a member of the Muslim Student Association were among his most gleaming highlights.

Post-graduation, Mirza attended law school and became an attorney, heeding his parents’ wishes. Today, Mirza is an NFL agent and a practicing lawyer, representing numerous players in the NFL. Most recently, the sports attorney represented Boise State wide receiver Khalil Shakir, drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

By combining his life-long infatuation with football and his expertise in business, Mirza was fortunate to pursue a profession in which he was equally passionate and skilled; a dream that many of us hope to obtain.

Mirza warns current college students of the fast-approaching, daunting reality that awaits beyond the graduation stage while urging them to act even in the face of fear. “Your greatest accomplishments and greatest growth come at times when you are uncomfortable, so if you’re intimidated by something- face it head on,” Mirza advised.