With the English Football league kicking off at the weekend, fans from all over the world will be once more donning their scarfs and replica shirts to follow their team on the rollercoaster that is a season. One of the big things that many expats miss when they move away from their homeland is their football team. Satellite TV can take the edge off but there’s nothing better than watching the game with friends and having a kick a-bout of your own. It’s no surprise that wherever British expats arrive a football team sprouts up shortly afterwards. Here, we take a look at just some of the thousands of expat football clubs from around the world.
Hollywood United FC (USA)
Quite possibly the most famous expat team in the world and that’s because it’s made up of some famous faces. Hollywood United was founded in the late 80’s by a group of British expatriates who frequented an English style pub on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The original squad was comprised of US based British celebrities including Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols and Vivian Campball of Def Leppard. From those humble beginnings the team has grown into a star studded world famous Sunday league side. Today’s players include, Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, Frank Leboeuf and Robbie Williams. The team competes in different Sunday leagues around Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Metro League and the Glendale League.
FC Britanico De Madrid (Spain)
In 1972 a few guys led by Mike Birkett in the British Embassy along with friends who were working in businesses in Madrid got together for a kick around one Saturday morning. As interest grew, an official team called FC Británico de Madrid was formed and in 1976 became original and founder members of an amateur league what is now called La Liga Santillana.
In the early years the club played matches in Pozuelo till the late 1970´s until Pozo del Tio Raimundo became the permanent home ground of the club. Many Britanicos will always refer to this ground as simply Pozo and the club is fondly remembered by locals in the area.
Sadly in 2001 the owner’s couldn´t maintain the ground and it lay in ruins for a few years until the local Council took over and refurbished the complex into a modernised complex with much in demand artificial grass. FC Británico de Madrid keep going and now play their league matches all over the city stretching from Barajas to El Pardo and Canillas to Getafe. Matches take place on Saturday mornings and during the season the club trains on the all weather grass pitch at the Instalación Básica Las Cocheras, La Elipa.
British United FC (Belgium)
With over 200 members comprising of over 30 different nationalities and its lively social scene British United FC is the biggest Expat football team in Belgium. The club fields seven teams, six men’s and one woman’s. Every team plays matches on Saturday afternoons to encourage members to mix and socialise. BUFC considers itself to be the friendliest ex-pat football club in Brussels; with members of all nationalities and both sexes most importantly they have their own bar at the football ground! The men’s teams play in the ABSSA league whilst the women play in the KBLVB league.
All-stars Football Club (UAE)
The All-stars play in the Dubai Amateur men’s league located in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The first team won promotion to the 1st Division in 2009/2010 and have gone from strength to strength. The club was originally founded in 2002 by expats working at ITP publishing and now boasts a membership of over 40 players and welcomes all new-comers.
Khobar Expats FC (Saudi Arabia)
Put any group of blokes together, and the chances are sooner or later they are going to want to start kicking a football around, and despite summer temperatures in the region of 50ºC in Saudi Arabia, there’s a thriving group of players doing just that.
Formed in 1997, Khobar Expats Football Club and its associated leagues is thriving, with a current membership of some 120 players and more than double that number throughout the world who have, at some stage during the last fifteen years, worn the club shirt. With their tagline of ‘It’s not just Camels and the Bedouin that go out in the Midday Sun’ Khobar FC is the perfect place for an Expat missing the beautiful game.
Jeonju United FC (South Korea)
Formerly known as Jeonju un-athletic the club is made up of both expats and native Korean players. There are usually about 20-25 team members. They play among themselves or against other expat teams. Games are on either Saturdays or Sundays or both.The team is part of the Seoul Sunday Football league which has enough participating teams to make up 3 whole divisions! South Korea also hosts a woman only league based in Seoul with the Seoul RMT FC ladies competing against both men’s and women’s teams in friendly matches and tournaments.