Are European Sports Teammates Locals?

In the United States the sports teams are just businesses. The teammates for the <Insert City Here> <Insert Team Name Here> are hired from around the world. Is the same true of European teams? For example, is the Naples Soccer Team composed of residents of Naples or do they hire people from Rome or Brazil?

The professionnal soccer teams are made up of players from all over the world. With the exception of national teams for competitions like the World Cup, of course.

Well, that’s true for football teams (but even then, they have local players playing, too - Liverpool has Carragher and Gerrard etc.).

Rugby league has a strong reliance on local players. I know that when Wigan were on top, an awful lot of the side were raised in Wigan. The same is true in cricket, where as far as I understand, county teams are only allowed a certain small number of outside players.

In all honesty and no matter where you go, all sports teams are businesses.

Even the amateur teams have to make money to support and maintain the ground they play on, facilities, kit and so on

Here’s Arsenal’s first team stats for 2007-2008. You’ll find a total of two - 2 - English players in there, with that guy Justin Hoyte the only one born in London (if I didn’t miscount). I guess he’s their local lad alibi.

In the Irish sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling there is a team for each of the 32 counties. As far as I’m aware unless you play for a local team in your county you cannot play for the county. GAA sports are amateur sports. The players are not paid to play.

They’re only allowed to field a couple of “overseas” players (players who do not have citizenship in an EU country), but they don’t have to have been born in the county or anything. Yorkshire CC was the last hold-out of that.

I think you would find that, if you looked at the roster of a team in the fifth division (what is now called the Football Conference) in England, I’d be willing to bet you’d find a few more local lads. Hard to say, though.

As a rule, most young footballers start out with local football club youth programs. But the really good ones get to sign on with the youth programs of better teams (say, Liverpool F.C.). From there, they try to work their way into the first team, but along the way they may end up having their rights sold to some other club (what we in America would call “traded”). By the time it all shakes out in their late teens and early 20s, the good ones are rarely with their local club, and often aren’t even on the same continent (especially if they come from South America or especially Africa).

This is mostly true, but there are exceptions. Man Utd have a big academy system, and don’t have to sell all the good players who come through it. As a result there’s a whole load of Mancunians and near-Mancunians in the squad - Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Wes Brown, Ryan Giggs, and others in the past such as Phil Neville (obviously) and Nicky Butt.

I’d disagree with that. In the lower amateur leagues AFAIK there is either no admission fee or a minuscule one, and teams are lucky if they can find a sponsor who springs for their clothing. They mostly subsist on membership dues, the lease for the clubhouse restaurant, etc.

For example in the German football (soccer) system the lowest-ranking league is (depending on region) the 10th to 13th league, with the first two leagues (1. Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga) professional leagues whose teams recruit worldwide. I have read of players in the next two amateur leagues (Regionalliga and Oberliga) sometimes being lured to a particular club by a job offer by a sponsor. For the 6 to 9 leagues below, comprising the vast majoritiy of teams, playing for a team that’s not local (or, in case you cannot play for the local team because you have fallen out with them, at least regional) doesn’t make sense.

One example: The club that I am a supporter of by place of birth fields a **professional team **that’s definitively not of local origin - reading down the roster:
Cameroon/Namibia/Berlin/Slovenia/France/Belgium/Netherlands/Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Berlin/Suriname/Netherlands/Saxony/Czech Republic/North Rhine-Westphalia/Belgium/Byelorussia/Schleswig-Holstein/Argentina/Poland/Netherlands
IOW, just one native Hamburger (and he has German/Cameroonian dual nationality)
OTOH the same club fields 12 male amateur teams, and the vast majoritiy of members of those are of course Hamburgers.

I just checked through the Ipswich squad, and despite having a large academy, there’s only one local in the regular first team (Liam Trotter). That’s because for years and years we’ve had to sell good young players on to Premiership clubs rather than keep them for ourselves, although that’s changing now :wink:

Just about the largest single contingent is actually the Irish one, five players born there and two others who’ve played for the national team. Plus a manager from Belfast.

To put this into some more perspective, at least where football (by which I mean football, but which might know better as soccer :slight_smile: ) is concerned:

in Europe, most of the discussion concerns whether the pro teams use national players or players from abroad. Way back in the day, there was a UEFA (union of european football associations) rule that each team could use a max of 3 foreign players. This rule was then abandoned and now the teams are made up of as many foreign players as pleases them. Recently, this has sparked some debate and UEFA officials have announced that they want to re-impose a limit on the number of foreign players. A main argument for this is that the national teams (ie the ones competing in the European and World Championships) from some countries are doing the worse because their national players don’t stand a chance of playing in their own competition, thus not improving themselves and not gaining the important hands-on important and stressful match experience that today’s football players need to survive. A case in point here is England: its fairly humiliating defeat was attributed in part to the fact that the major English teams typically include only one or two English players.

Arsenal, for instance, a London team that recently made it into the quarterfinals of the Champions League, did so with exactly 0 English players. Among the 7 other teams to have made it into the quarter finals, there are 3 more English team, in addition to Barcelona (Spain), Roma (Italy), Fenerbahçe (Turkey) and Schalke (Germany). This lopsided outcome shows that, while the English national team is not doing too well, their professional local teams are (last year, three of the four CL semifinalists were English… but AC Milan (Italy) won). From a business perspective, their decision not to use English players is paying of. And among the other teams that are big in Europe, you see the same: hardly any national players, except for the occasional token national (and in that case also usually local) player. Real Madrid (Spain), for instance, has been playing with this guy named Raúl for decades now. Similarly, AC Milan (Italy) player Maldini, an Italian, recently played his last European match. His first one was back in 1987 or something. These guys are very old. Needless to say. And as was mentioned above, Liverpool has these guys Gerrard and Carragher. This, too, is business: the fans love these guys and they form a huge attraction, luring the fans to the stadion where they pay large amounts (esp. in England) to see their team play.

So to come back to the OP: Football in Europe is business, and people here are generally happy if their team includes a player from the same country as them, never mind the same city/region.

One more thing I meant to say, that you might find amusing:

the options that the UEFA has in order to curb the number of foreign players on a team are limited by the European Court of Justice, which has ruled that it is against the principle of free traffic of persons, goods and labour to exclude any EU citizens from ‘working’ (ie playing football for handsome amounts of money) in EU countries other than their own. This means that any restriction imposed on the number of foreign players can concern only non-EU players, for otherwise it would be thrown out of the window by the European Court of Justice.

In fact, I just found out that the Bosman ruling has been extended to include people from the so called ACP Countries which means that there can also be no restriction on the number of people from those countries, including most of Africa, which is an important supplier of football players.

Significantly, Brazil and Argentina are still out, so some sort of regulation could be concocted limiting the number of Brazilian and Argentinian players on local EU teams…

:smiley: Harsh, but fair (except maybe about Maldini – he really was a very good player). I’m not sure that Liverpool select Gerrard and Carragher just to please their fans. They are good players, but there is a kind of cult around Stevie G. in England where we have convinced ourselves that he is world class. I don’t see foreign clubs queuing up to buy him, though. Chelsea showed interest a while ago, but it’s gone a bit quiet since then.

Thank you all for the responses.