Anomaly Hires Ex Soccer Pro Edgar Davids

He Had Initially Asked For an Internship

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Mike Byrne, Edgar Davids and Richard Mulder
Mike Byrne, Edgar Davids and Richard Mulder

Anomaly has added former international soccer player Edgar Davids to its ranks. Mr. Davids, a Dutchman, has played for European club teams including Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona and Tottenham as well as his national squad. At the agency, he will be assigned briefs and asked to provide insights on sports and pop culture-related projects.

But Mr. Davids had only asked to intern. He and founding partner Richard Mulder, a fellow-Dutchman, met in Amsterdam in the mid '90s when Mr. Mulder led brand communications for Nike across several regions -- namely Europe, the U.S., and the Asia-Pacific.

They stayed in touch even after Mr. Mulder relocated to the U.S. in 2000 and through the remainder of Mr. Davids' athletic career. Then, a few weeks ago, Mr. Davids inquired about an internship or opportunity to work at Anomaly. "He said, 'I've always been at the end of the process, but I'd like to be involved from start to finish,'" explained Mr. Mulder.

He has already critiqued some of the agency's work, according to partner and Global Executive Creative Director Mike Byrne. "He's a professional athlete, he has opinions and he's not afraid to share them," said Mr. Byrne. "We do Dick's Sporting Goods and other sports-related projects he'll be able to contribute to."

One such project is the agency's follow up to its "Rise as One" web documentary series in partnership with Budweiser and Fox. While the first installments centered on soccer -- they premiered before the World Cup -- the second series will be more broadly sports-focused. "Edgar was actually on the table as a concept," said Mr. Mulder, "but now he's working on it too."

Mr. Davids will be a paid employee, though his salary is still being negotiated. "He's not doing this for the money," Mr. Mulder said, "but he wouldn't want to be taken advantage of."

This isn't Anomaly's first pro sports hire. American olympic fencer Daryl Homer joined the agency last year and is a part of the Budweiser account team. While the agency factors in his 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily training schedule, he punches in like everyone else after that.

Unlike Mr. Homer and other staffers, however, Mr. Davids won't be expected to come in everyday. "He has other responsibilities. He's a UN ambassador, an ambassador for his old team Juventus and he travels a lot," said Mr. Mulders. "But I can see him moving here and doing this for longer periods of time, if he really likes it." Mr. Davids also has homes in London and Amsterdam, where Anomaly also has offices.

"He has everything you want in a young talented creative," explained Mr. Mulders "He's a pop-culture addict, he can tell you a lot about China and has an interesting perspective -- he plays with kids and then meets with high-powered businessmen."

Mr. Davids will start the first week of December.

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