How to get autographs from professional soccer players

When New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was eight years old, he found himself in the San Francisco Giants locker room, where he asked Chili Davis, a star of the team at the time, for an autograph. Davis refused, but said, “Maybe later, kid, maybe if you come after the game.”

So young Brandy stayed, and after the game he approached his favorite player again, only to be rebuffed again with “No, I’m not signing autographs after the game.”

The effect stayed with Brady, both in terms of the disappointment it brought him and Brady’s future outlook on autographs when he found himself in similar situations.

“It certainly hurt,” Brady told Tuff Stuff magazine. “But at the same time, I was in the boy’s clubhouse and now I see him from a different perspective than I did when I was that age. At the time, though, it seemed like such a small request.”

You’d expect walking into the Patriots’ locker room and asking for autographs to be a quick way to get your ass kicked, but there are certain ways you can get on the radar of autograph givers.

First, you must have something to sign. Getting a player to sign your arm might seem like a fun idea at the time, and you might get it done, but it’s largely a pointless act since you’ll eventually wash it out. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you’re not going straight to the tattoo parlor to have a tattoo artist trace your autograph, don’t bother signing with your body. Always carry a good quality pen. What’s the point of giving a player something to sign if you don’t give them the means to do so?

Next, know who the heck you’re talking to. If you can call him by his name or say something that shows you’ve taken an interest in him, he’ll look at you with more sympathy than a fan with a giant “P” painted on his beer belly.

The next important thing to remember is location, location, location. It’s much easier to get a player to sign something from a front row seat than from a second balcony seat. If you get a good seat and also get to the game early, you can try talking to the players as they pass by. If you can get a guy to engage in conversation for a while, you might end up with some players stopping by for a chat.

Sometimes a player will be the star signing autographs and a crowd will quickly form. This is another reason to arrive early. Fighting through a crowd for signatures, or worse yet, sitting in your seat as dozens of people begin to crowd around you, is likely to annoy you the most.

If you can learn where the players come in and out of the stadium, that’s another great place to find them ready to sign, pose for photos, and shake hands. If they’re not in a hurry, they’re much more likely to stick around for a while.

There is also always the traditional way of getting an autograph: write it down. Most team clubs will accept the mail and forward it to the player. When writing an athlete for an autograph, the same rules apply for any mailed autograph request:

* Always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).

* Attach a photo and/or tokens for the player to sign.

* Do not send food, money or gifts.

* Always include a letter acknowledging the player and their achievements.

* Be patient.

Sending fan mail:

To send a fan mail to a football player, simply write it to his team’s address.

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