Roc Nation was founded in 2008, and over time, the agency has continued to grow rapidly. It has been a very similar case with Roc Nation Sports, which was set up in 2013 by none other than Jay-Z.
Roc Nation Sports International President Michael Yormark has previously explained that they don’t see themselves as a traditional agency, but rather a movement. RNS pride themselves upon helping athletes achieve their objectives both on the field and off the field, helping them to leave a positive, long-lasting legacy on society.
Roc Nation Sports have been doing just this as they teamed up with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford in April to help manage his off-field activities and provide him with the chance to use his platform to make such a positive difference to the UK and society in general. Most notably, the England forward ensured the UK government reversed their decision to halt the Free School Meals vouchers.
However, he has also learned sign language to judge a poetry competition at a deaf school, while also tackling the issue of homelessness. Rashford’s work has been truly remarkable.
We take a look at who else have teamed up with Roc Nation Sports…
Signed: June 2015
A World Cup winner, a Champions League winner, a league title winner…Jerome Boateng has proven over the years his abilities on the field, but it was his overall personality that convinced Jay-Z to team up with him.
Boateng, a fan of fashion and music, is said to have struck up a friendship with Jay-Z. The central defender’s interest in the entertainment industry among numerous other areas made him very marketable and an exciting athlete to have on board.
Equally, it was important Roc Nation had someone who represented their vision and values – and Boateng did. The Bayern man was awarded the Audi Generation Award in 2014 after helping with the ‘Living a Dream’ project run by a children’s charity.
Boateng helped build football pitches and educational facilities for children when Germany took part in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Even as recently as April 2020, Boateng insisted he wished to continue with his charitable work even when he retires.
Signed: April 2018
Romelu Lukaku became the first Premier League player to team up with Roc Nation Sports when he signed with them in April 2018.
Thing is, Lukaku was already with a pretty big agent before signing with RNS. In fact, he was with a ‘super agent’ who goes by the name of Mino Raiola. Yet, the Belgian left Raiola to go and sign with Roc Nation – and it’s safe to say it has worked out very well for him,
It was a major step forward in the industry for RNS and Lukaku himself, who was in elite company alongside Boateng at the time.
Lukaku went on to meet Jay-Z in New York, with the forward describing it as a dream come true. Since teaming up with Roc Nation, the Belgium international has made a mega money switch from Manchester United to Inter, where he is enjoying a very successful first season.
Additionally, it has been said that his record deal with Puma came about as a result of his connection with Roc Nation as Jay-Z is a fan of the brand.
Signed: January 2019
Man Utd’s Eric Bailly became the third footballer to become a member of Roc Nation’s ‘family’ when he signed in January 2019. This saw him also team up with good friend Lukaku, who voiced his delight once news had broken that Bailly had joined.
The pair were teammates at United together and Lukaku was keen to stress that RNS had done outstanding things for his career, and he was sure the agency could do the same for Bailly.
Despite Bailly’s injury struggles, he remains a huge fan favourite at Old Trafford, with his personality (as well as his footballing ability, of course) playing a major role in this.
Bailly has his own charity, named the Eric Bailly Foundation, and he recently used this to help support people from his home nation of Ivory Coast. Sending food, drink and other essentials during the global pandemic, Bailly was able to help support a number of people in isolation.
Signed: March 2019
Following in the footsteps of fellow Belgian Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne was the next star footballer to join up with Roc Nation.
De Bruyne’s signature was the latest reminder that Roc Nation may not want to be the biggest – but rather the best. De Bruyne’s style of play is a joy to watch, spotting gaps that can’t even be spotted from a television screen. The Belgium international is currently chasing the record for the most assists in Premier League history.
The midfielder was also the latest Manchester-based athlete to team up with RNS, and De Bruyne and Bailly came together in December of 2019 to do their bit to support the Manchester community. As part of RNS’ Kicks for Kids scheme, Bailly and De Bruyne handed out trainers to underprivileged kids in the Manchester area.
Signed: April 2019
With De Bruyne and Lukaku already with RNS, Axel Witsel became the latest addition. The midfielder joined Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018 after spending some time away from European football – featuring in China.
Since then, Witsel has gone on to become a key member of Dortmund’s first-team, making 81 appearances up to this point. He also remains a hugely important member of the Belgium national team and despite being just 31, he sits second for his nation with regards to caps.
Witsel remains a very underrated footballer.
Signed: August 2019
Samuel Chukwueze may not be a world-class, extremely well renowned talent, such as Lukaku or De Bruyne – but this partnership makes sense for both the player and Roc Nation Sports.
There is no doubting the young Villarreal man’s ability, who has made 34 appearances in all competitions so far in 2019/20. His numbers in terms of goal contributions don’t exactly set the world alight, but it is his overall skillset that makes him such a bright prospect.
Since he teamed up with Roc Nation, the 21-year-old’s reputation has grown enormously, with footballing fans from all over the world tuning in to catch a glimpse of one of Nigeria’s most exciting young talents.
Signed: October 2019
Dakota Watterson is the youngest footballer on this list, with the youngster teaming up with Roc Nation in October 2019 at the age of just 14 years old.
Watterson is also the second-youngest American footballer to turn professional, and there are high hopes for her. Training weekly with different teams, Watterson is working tirelessly to make a real name for herself. However, being a member of Roc Nation Sports comes with responsibility and despite her age, she has not shied away from this. She is already a role model in her local area, hosting training camps for young aspiring athletes.
Signed: November 2019
Roc Nation describes itself as a ‘family’ – with each new athlete becoming the latest member of the group. But, in this case, quite literally, the James family decided to sign with RNS.
Reece has emerged as one of the most exciting young talents at Chelsea, putting in a number of impressive displays in a variety of positions – notably right-back. Upon signing, Reece was keen to allude to the strong bond at RNS, explaining his delight at being able to join with his sister Lauren, currently at Man Utd Women, and father Nigel, who’s a well-renowned coach.
As for RNS, it was the latest example that not only did they want to be the best, but also the most unique – a place where not just individuals are welcome, but also families.
Signed: May 2020
It was Federico Bernardeschi’s work off the field during the global pandemic that caught the eye of RNS, who immediately recognised that the Juventus man’s values aligned with the agency’s.
After signing, Yormark alluded to just this, explaining that Roc Nation are proud of the work he has done and will look to support him and help him achieve his long-term goals.
Bernardeschi also became the first Italian footballer to sign with Roc Nation.
Signed: May 2020
Just a matter of days after announcing the addition of Bernardeschi, Roc Nation confirmed Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings had also teamed up with the ever-growing company.
Mings has already begun preparing for life after football by boosting his business knowledge, investing in fashion and tech companies as well as showing an interest in property development. Additionally, he has also set up the Tyrone Mings Academy.
It is clear to see the type of athlete Roc Nation look for, and Mings meets the criteria. With Rashford officially becoming the most recent player to team up with RNS, it is a case of who will be next?
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