Sport – A Career Choice: 1-2-1 with Daniel Sandu

Welcome to our ‘Sport – A Career Choice Series’, a one-to-one meeting with sport professionals. On a regular basis, we discuss sport career paths with leaders from the industry, who share their tips, journeys, backgrounds, experience, ups and downs. At its core, this is an initiative to promote the exciting types of employment opportunities available in the sport environment whilst also featuring beautiful stories with hard-working people who are making a difference.


Can you briefly introduce yourself?

Yes, of course, my name is Sandu Daniel-Calin, I’m 25 years old, with a background in football analysis combined with a Master’s degree in Sport Management. So it’s easy to see that all of my life was built around sport. Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, now I have had the chance to live in Brussels, Belgium, after several years of living in the USA and France.


Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today.

After having played football for 10 years, I have had the opportunity to start my career as a football analyst for ORTEC Sports. After becoming Senior Analyst and being part of the team who analysed PSV, Ajax, Club Brugge, Anderlecht and many different top teams, I chose to pursue my dream to work in football. After finishing my bachelor degree in Communication and Advertising at National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, after my time at ORTEC, I went on to University of Bordeaux, for my  Master’s Degree in Administrative and Management of Professional Sports Clubs. Thus, during the second part of my Master, I’ve completed my internship at the Football Business Institute of Brussels where I had the chance to polish my networking skills and get a better view over the sports world.


Can you describe a typical day in your life?

Now during the transfer period, all my day gravitates around transfer rumours and friendly games of top teams, and because the Romanian teams are not that good in European games, I’m trying to see as much as possible from their games.

What is…

  • the proudest moment of your career both as a sportsman and a sport professional?

As a sportsman it was the time when I played for Concordia Chiajna against Steaua Bucharest in the U19 championship and we won the game on the central stadium of the big team. As a professional, I will say the chance to work for one of the biggest teams in the world and the fact that I helped with the data I collected at some big transfers in the Benelux area.

  • your dream job and what have you done recently to get to where you wish to be?

My dream job is to be a top sportive director at a football club. Despite the fact that I was not such a big professional player, I think the mix between education and working experience could bring me to a top management position in a football club.

one person / role model that has inspired you the most during your sports career and also after entering the sport business industry?

For sure my role model is Monchi; the way he managed Sevilla and now As Roma is amazing and for sure I want to meet him in person one day. Because I have always embraced the idea that a club has to grow their own players and build around them, I think he is the perfect role model for me. As a football player, for sure Zidane is my favourite all time, and the way he managed his coaching career after the World Cup incident is amazing.


What is the first most important thing you would change in the way sport business is done in Romania – something that, if implemented, would initiate the development of sport as a whole?

I think the mentality, we always think that we are not good, we don’t deserve to have a good team or to perform better than the opposition. Romania is a country full of quality and value, with big potential in most of the sports, but besides the infrastructure which I think is a big problem, I think we have to up the level with the training procedures and in the end the mentality. I believe that in the future, we have a chance for a proper development and reach the point where we can fight against top nations from the world.


What do you think is the key skill a sportsman / sportswoman should possess to be successful outside his/her athlete career?   

I think the ambition. I think the way you have to enter into this world should be based on hard-work and dedication. Everyone has a goal in their life, but until you achieve it, you have to put stone by stone and I think this is the hardest part, because people are trying to jump over some stones and fall.


How has playing football professionally helped you become the person you are today?

As we discussed at our first meeting face to face, teamwork is very important in this business, and I think this is the major difference between us and the old management generation in sport from Romania. Being selfish in this world is useless, because you always need connections and you always have to keep the door open everywhere you put your foot in. So to answer your question, to always be real and to be a team player are some of the most important skills I have developed in my football playing years.


Learn more about Daniel Sandu, who’s a true believer in the ‘Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded’ mantra, by connecting with him on LinkedIn! 


Teodora Busurca

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