American soccer players with dual/multiple citizenships negotiate their feelings of national belonging through a triadic framework of the theoretical concepts of citizenship, migration, and national identity. Possessing formal U.S. citizenship is a prerequisite for eligibility and selection according FIFA regulations governing national team representation. Migration to or from the United States or possessing multiple citizenships often present elite athletes with a difficult choice of which sporting nationality to represent in international soccer competitions. Negotiations of belonging are influenced by multiple factors for the World Cup-level athlete, including but not limited to player quality, playing time, or the chance to be a world champion. The role of family, coaches/teammates, media, soccer federations, and sports audiences in the establishment of feelings of belonging must be considered. Theoretical foundations of migration, citizenship, and national identity are essential in describing the thick to thin forms of citizenship and belonging that dual/multi-national soccer players occupy. The unique development of American soccer and its struggle to capture the “popular imagination” of the United States with the context of American exceptionalism is considered.

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Gijsbert Oonk
Global History and International Relations
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Kevin Kendall. (2021, July 2). Negotiating Citizenship and National Belonging of Multi-National Soccer Players Representing the United States Men’s National Team (1990-2019). Global History and International Relations. Retrieved from