The Road to Glory: Introduction

Emanuel Muñoz-Barillas

Soccer, or football as the rest of the world calls it, is a global phenomenon. Due to the low cost of playing the sport, soccer can be played by anyone all over the world. Especially popular in the southern hemisphere,  many aspiring athletes dream of playing for the top teams in Europe. In pursuit of this dream, athletes migrate to the Old Continent in search of professional success and economic stability for themselves and their families back home. However, in this process, they face many challenges that they must overcome, many of which are amplified by their migratory status. 

In this paper, I explore the connection between sport and migration, and how it may influence the decision to migrate from one’s country of origin to a new country. I also analyze the migratory process, including incentives for departure, arrival in the host country, and integration into a host country’s culture, through the lens of soccer. Through analysis of a wide range of literature, news articles, and academic journals, I argue that sports can not only provide us with a reflection of the migration process but that the pursuit of the professional level can also further exacerbate the difficulties and trauma that are associated with migration. 

The Road to Glory by Emanuel Muñoz-Barillas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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