With more than 15 years of experience, AGM Sports arose from the personal experience of the brothers Gonzalo and Álvaro Corrales from Huesca, who had to leave professional sport in Spain in order to study. They help elite athletes to study in the USA with university scholarships.
Gonzalo Corrales from Huesca was only 19 years old when he left professional tennis. In 1991 he was junior champion of Spain, followed by titles such as European and World champion. He was a promising tennis player. As he could not study and train in top competition at the same time, he gave up his studies and focused on his sporting career. But the result was not what he expected.
Very soon he saw that the tournaments he had won at the age of 17 he began to lose at the age of 18. “Fortunately, I realised this very early on and started studying again. At the age of 20 I went to the United States to study business with a scholarship that paid for my studies for being an athlete, for playing tennis”, Corrales says.
Gonzalo spent 12 years in the United States. After studying in Georgia, he studied for an MBA at Florida International and worked in multinationals in the financial sector. But every day he asked himself how he could help other young sportsmen and women to be able to combine studies and sport, “something unthinkable in Spain” and which not even his older brother, Álvaro, had been able to do. “My brother was a great tennis player like me and he had to stay in Zaragoza because he didn’t know the opportunity that the USA offered to study and develop in sport.
That’s how AGM Sports was born
It was precisely from these two experiences that AGM Sports (Athletes Global Management Sports) was created in Miami in 2004. They wanted to give other Spanish athletes the opportunity to combine their studies with sport through scholarships. At that time there were only 25 Spanish athletes in the whole of the USA with this condition. And they wanted to attract more talent to American universities.
“The educational and sports system in Spain is very poorly conceived, we are light years away from what the American system offers, and our objective in founding AGM was that any athlete would understand that they have a great opportunity thanks to sport,” Corrales laments. AGM accompanies them in the process of finding a scholarship at an American university where students enjoy full board accommodation, as the scholarship includes accommodation, meals, studies at universities with the best resources to promote talent and with programmes adapted to athletes.
When they founded AGM Sports, Álvaro was the manager of Club Deportivo Helios and Gonzalo was working from Miami, so they decided very quickly to establish the company in Zaragoza. “Álvaro had his life in Zaragoza and I came back to Huesca in 2006. Zaragoza was the perfect place to take AGM to, it was the most convenient logistically, because we were a stone’s throw from the Basque Country, Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona,” explains Gonzalo Corrales.
“We work with different profiles, students who are academically brilliant but who are not so good at sport, or kids who are not so good at academic performance or English but who, thanks to sport, can get a scholarship to study at one of the best universities in America,” explains the founder of AGM Sports. The company analyses these profiles, the type of sport, sporting level, academic level and gender to see what type of scholarship and university they can apply for.
“Everything is important. There is more aid for women’s sports for one simple reason: there is a federal law, Title IX, which requires that there be the same number of scholarships for men as for women. For football players alone there are 85 scholarships that have to be matched for women in other sports, because there is no women’s football. That’s why in other sports there are many women on scholarships,” Corrales explains. Thanks to AGM, sport has become an opportunity for women as well.
Spain, leading exporter of tennis players to the USA
When AGM Sports was born, there were practically no Spaniards on scholarship in the USA. Now, according to Gonzalo Corrales, “any athlete with projection is already thinking about being the best possible to have more scholarships and more universities interested in them”. In fact, Spain is the leading exporter of tennis players to American universities, while in football it is second in the ranking.
“It’s a unique university, sports and financial system. College football and basketball generate as much as a professional football league and that has to be passed on to the university itself,” Corrales acknowledges.
At the University of Georgia, where Gonzalo studied, they have a football stadium for 93,000 people. La Romareda can hold just over 33,600. “They have television contracts there that generate a lot of money, which they reinvest in the sports facilities, in scholarships for other athletes,” says Gonzalo Corrales.
Today, AGM Sports has helped 2,353 athletes to get a scholarship at US universities such as Stanford or Columbia. AGM was the first company to offer this advice and accompaniment, but in all these years a small industry has been created with 25 to 30 companies. AGM still has 50% of the market and has obtained 152,894,085 euros in scholarships from American universities.
Of the total number of scholarship holders, 141 students and athletes are from Aragon. Javier Bes was the first AGM Sports success story. In 2005, this tennis player studied Civil engineering at the University of Alabama (Division I). Golfer Blanca Porta began her career in 2016 at the University of South Carolina Beaufort (NAIA). Marta Falceto began her business career in 2019 at Mississippi State University (Division I) thanks to tennis. Ignacio Alastuey, former Real Zaragoza División de Honor Juvenil player started his studies at Florida Atlantic University in 2019 NCAA DI with the help of AGM. Candela Lascorz, basketball player joined AGM in 2020 and enrolled at Vincennes University (Indiana) in a JUCO.
AGM Sports’ job placement programmes
The AGM team currently numbers 25 people. Most of them are former clients who have returned to Spain and are starting to work at AGM to help other athletes.
In addition to advice for scholarships, they have different job placement programmes such as the Umbrella programme. It includes advice on postgraduate studies and the sending of CVs and participation in events of multinational partners of AGM such as Banco Santander, Deloitte or Repsol.
AGM Sports has launched a programme for athletes to be trained in academic centres and universities in Spain. The European University, San Jorge University, Schiller International University, International Business School of Barcelona and The American College in Spain, among others, have joined the programme.