SPORTSMAX EXCLUSIVE: St Lucia's Julien Alfred expected to announce decision to go pro next week; athlete about to select agent, shoe sponsor

By June 15, 2023
Coach Eldrick Floreal will continue to guide the development of Julien Alfred after she becomes a professional athlete sometime next week. Coach Eldrick Floreal will continue to guide the development of Julien Alfred after she becomes a professional athlete sometime next week. University of Texas Track and Field

In an exclusive interview with University of Texas Head Coach Eldrick Floreal, it has been revealed that two-time NCAA 100m champion Julien Alfred is expected to announce her decision to turn professional next week. Coach Floreal, who has played a pivotal role in Alfred's development, also shared insights into how he helped her overcome challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to become arguably the best female sprinter in NCAA history.

While the 22-year-old Alfred has not finalized any professional contracts yet, the plan is for her to remain in Austin and continue training under Coach Floreal's guidance. "Yeah, I mean that's the plan right now,” Floreal told Sportsmax.TV Wednesday.

“I mean obviously select agents and shoe company and all this stuff. But right now the plan first remains in Austin, to continue training this year, next year and beyond."

Coach Floreal further mentioned that Alfred has been meeting with various agents and shoe companies, indicating significant interest in her success. He expressed confidence that Alfred would make an official announcement next week after finalizing an agent and securing a contract.

Alfred enjoyed a spectacular season for the University of Texas indoors and outdoors, capped by her triple-gold medal performance at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas on Saturday.

Running on her home field for the last time as a student athlete, the St Lucian sprint queen ran a slightly wind-aided 10.72 (2.3m/s) to win the 100m and 21.73 (w2.5m/s) to take 200m gold barely an hour apart to lead Texas’ women to the national title for the first time in 18 years. It was the first time in NCAA history that an athlete was running the two fastest times in all conditions on the same day of a national championships.

Earlier Saturday, Alfred ran the lead-off leg of the Longhorns’ 4x100m relay team that won in a fast 41.60. Only the NCAA national, meet and facility record of 41.55 they ran 48 hours earlier, is faster.

However, once an athlete goes the professional route, there are several factors that are critical to achieving success.

Reflecting on Alfred's potential and talent, Coach Floreal acknowledged the shift that comes with transitioning to the professional level. He emphasized the importance of mindset and the ability to manage oneself as an individual athlete, as opposed to representing a university or group. Coach Floreal highlighted the need for athletes to handle the business side of the sport and likened their careers to running a corporation.

“Right now the corporation is called Julien Alfred Incorporated and I am the CEO but when they go pro the corporation is called Julien Alfred Incorporated, they become the CEO. I'm no longer responsible for all this stuff. So they have to make that adjustment," Coach Floreal explained. He emphasized that success at the professional level hinges on an athlete's ability to manage their own corporation and handle the outside pressures that come with it.

Regarding Alfred's talent, Coach Floreal acknowledged her remarkable achievements and consistent performance under pressure. He emphasized her ability to deliver exceptional performances when it matters most, distinguishing a great athlete from the rest.

While Coach Floreal acknowledged the time and maturity it took for Alfred to reach her current level, he attributed her progress to the development of her talent and her growing ability to handle the stresses of being a world-class athlete.

The conversation shifted towards Alfred's experiences during the pandemic, during which she faced anxiety due to being unable to return home. Coach Floreal played a crucial role in providing support and creating a safe space for Alfred. He shared, "So being available becomes important. I was just available, like I am for all the athletes that I coach, guiding them not just in training but also through personal challenges."

Coach Floreal emphasized the importance of building relationships and trust with his athletes, ensuring they have the confidence to overcome obstacles. He underscored his commitment to their success and the belief that he would never put their careers in jeopardy.

As Julien Alfred prepares to make her highly anticipated professional announcement, the track and field world eagerly awaits her next move. With the unwavering guidance and support of Coach Eldrick Floreal, Alfred is poised to make a significant impact in her professional career, continuing her journey to greatness.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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