Soccer

How pro soccer player from Sacramento area is helping athletes avoid going ‘broke’

Philadelphia Union’s Amobi Okugo, left, gets tangled with Toronto FC’s Gilberto during a Major League Soccer match in 2014. Okugo, who attended Sacramento-area high schools, has a website aimed at helping athletes manage their money.
Philadelphia Union’s Amobi Okugo, left, gets tangled with Toronto FC’s Gilberto during a Major League Soccer match in 2014. Okugo, who attended Sacramento-area high schools, has a website aimed at helping athletes manage their money. Associated Press file

Professional athletes can make millions of dollars over their career from contracts, endorsements and investments.

However, there are plenty of stories about players who squander their riches once their career ends. One MLS player with Sacramento ties hopes to end those types of tales.

Amobi Okugo of the Portland Timbers has launched a website aimed at helping pro athletes manage their money. Frugal Athlete “provides an insider’s look into the personal financial playbooks of professional athletes,” according to the site’s “about” section.

So what is Okugo’s motivation?

“I got the idea shortly after watching ESPN’s 30 for 30, ‘Broke,’ ” he told Forbes. “Between that and reading a few articles highlighting athletes who had lost much of their career earnings, I began looking for other athletes that were smart with their money.”

He already has several stories on his site, including the Kings’ Garrett Temple, basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, former NFL running back Eddie George and several others.

It’s not just athletes contributing. Industry professionals share their insight, too.

Okugo, who was born in Hayward and attended Rio Americano and Jesuit high schools in the Sacramento area, has played for five MLS teams since joining the league in 2010. The 26-year-old defensive midfielder is not considered a superstar, and a site that tracks sports contracts says he’s only the 227th-highest player in the league of more than 600.

However, he plans to make sure his money is used wisely. Once he’s done playing, “his ultimate goal (is) to start his own management consulting firm with an emphasis on sports his next chapter, and help educate and guide the next generation of athletes,” the website reads.

“I look at what I’m doing with A Frugal Athlete kind of like what I do on the field,” Okugo told Forbes. “As a midfielder, my job is to often transition from offense to defense. That’s the way I see many of our post-pro athlete careers and managing our money.”

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