Football is an incredibly powerful case study of globalization and an extremely useful lens through which to study and understand contemporary processes of international migration. This is the first book to focus on the increasingly complex series of migratory processes that contour the contemporary game, drawing on multi-disciplinary approaches from sociology, history, geography and anthropology to explore migration in football in established, emerging and transitional contexts.

The book examines shifting migration patterns over time and across space, and analyses the sociological dynamics that drive and influence those patterns. It presents in-depth case studies of migration in elite men’s football, exploring the role of established leagues in Europe and South America as well as important emerging leagues on football's frontier in North America and Asia. The final section of the book analyses the movement of groups who have rarely been the focus of migration research before, including female professional players, elite youth players, amateur players and players’ families, drawing on important new research in Ghana, England, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Few other sports have such a global reach and therefore few other sports are such an important location for cross-cultural research and insight across the social sciences. This book is engaging reading for any student or scholar with an interest in sport, sociology, human geography, migration, international labour flows, globalization, development or post-colonial studies.

part |43 pages


chapter 1|18 pages

Mobility, migration and history

Football and early transnational networks

chapter 2|15 pages

Chasing the ball

The motivations, experiences and effects of migrant professional footballers

chapter 3|9 pages

Football and migration

A contemporary geographical analysis

part |78 pages


chapter 4|14 pages

Migration and soccer in a football world

The United States of America and the global game

chapter 5|15 pages

Circulation, bubbles, returns

The mobility of Brazilians in the football system

chapter 6|17 pages

The migration of Irish professional footballers

The good, the bad and the ugly

chapter 7|13 pages

Football and migration

An analysis of South Korean football

chapter 8|18 pages

League of retirees

Foreigners in Hungarian professional football

part |74 pages


chapter 9|17 pages

Current patterns and tendencies in women's football migration

Outsourcing or national protectionism as the way forward?

chapter 10|15 pages

Youth migration in English professional football

Living, labouring and learning in Premier League academies

chapter 11|21 pages

“No one would burden the sea and then never get any benefit”

Family involvement in players' migration to football academies in Ghana

chapter 12|14 pages

Finding football in the Dominican Republic

Haitian migrants, space, place and notions of exclusion

chapter |5 pages

Conclusion: Playing the long-ball game

Future directions in the study of football and migration