Hope, Fear, and Youth Academies: African Players and the Changing Demographics of European Soccer

France/ Roman Empire
“The BBC’s recent pre-season analysis of “Where the Premier League’s players come from” offered a striking picture of the dramatic demographic changes in European soccer over recent decades. Comparing the EPL’s 2009-2010 rosters with the same clubs’ 1989-1990 rosters, I was particularly struck by the influx of African players. The same clubs that today include 44 players born in Africa only included four African born players in 1989—and those four were all white players with family ties to England (Bruce Grobbelaar at Liverpool, Iain Hesford at Hull, Gavin Nebbeling at Fulham, and John Paskin with Wolves). On the surface, this is a tremendous success story for African soccer—but stories of globalization and soccer are always more complicated than what’s on the surface.” (Pitch Invasion)

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