Whether it’s Football Teams in Berlin or Korea, here’s 20 Expat Teams
One of the hardest parts of moving to a new country is making friends. Depending on your language proficiency, it can be nearly impossible to communicate outside of the office. Many expats feel loneliness during their first few months as they get used to their surroundings.
But one of the easiest ways to make friends and join a community is to find a local sports team. Football is almost universally loved and easy to play with just a few people and a ball. Here are 20 football organisations that cater to expats around the world who would love to have you on their team.
We’ve Got Football Teams in Dubai, Shanghai, Brussels and many more
Seoul Cosmos FC
The Seoul Cosmos was established in 2008 and is made up of both expats and local Koreans. It’s the only current team in the Seoul Saturday Soccer League to have only played in the top division. They have been league champions twice and cup champions once. Their games are on Saturdays in the spring (March-June) and autumn (August-December).
Shanghai ReUnited has more than 30 countries represented on their football team and considers itself Shanghai’s most diverse football club. They train once a week and go out drinking as often as possible. They have two teams in two divisions of the Shanghai International Football League (SIFL), which means there’s a place for any player regardless of skill level.
Bangkok Casuals League
While not a specific team, the Bangkok Casuals League is where you want to start as an expat living in Bangkok. As the largest adult amateur league in Thailand, it consists of 20 teams divided into two divisions. Players are required to follow the FIFA Fair Play Code to maintain respect and safety on the pitch for players, referees and fans.
ESPZEN offers both youth leagues and schools for adults. It also offers training schools specifically for adults who want to learn the sport but aren’t familiar. ESPZEN is unique because it also has an indoor Futsal team, which plays football on a hard court. The organisation is more than 20 years old and is one of the top amateur leagues in Singapore.
West Auckland AFC
West Auckland AFC, based in Kelston, prides itself on being a family-friendly club that welcomes people of all skills and ages. They have youth leagues along with adult teams and teams for seniors. They also have one of the largest girls’ and women’s sections in West Auckland.
Adelaide Cobras Amateur FC
The Adelaide Cobras are one of the newest football groups in the area, but they’re already picking up steam. Founded in 2013, they’re part of the Adelaide Omonia Cobras Football Club (FFSA), which stretches back to 1972. They started off in Division 4 and were recently promoted in Division 3 in their inaugural season. As of 2014, they play in Division 2.
Football Queensland is always looking for players, coaches, referees and volunteers, making it the perfect organisation for getting involved in the community. Along with youth leagues, they offer a senior league and a social league, which caters to men and women 35 and up. They even have a Summer6s camp for players ages 3 and up.
Expat Football Association Dubai
The Expat Football Association consists of 14 teams that play on Friday mornings. They’re always looking for new players regardless of skill level. This league places an emphasis on community events to use their common thread of football to connect with local businesses and organisations in the area.
Dubai Amateur Football League
Another option for Expats in the UAE is the Dubai Amateur Football League. It’s the largest amateur football league in the Middle East with more than 1,200 players across 50 teams. Their sheer numbers allow players of all skill levels to join and find a find a group that matches their goals and athletic abilities.
Royal Brussels British FC
The Royal Brussels British FC (RBBFC) consists of six teams and 150 members. They welcome anyone between 16 and 60 to try out and join their community, though they do ask potential new members to try out on their training days of Monday or Wednesday. This gives them a feel for your skill level and where you would be a good fit.
Barcelona International Football League
Formed by mostly British expats in 1992, the Barcelona International Football League has grown into 18 teams playing Saturdays from September through June. While there are representatives from every country, each team has several Spaniards, making this a great way to get to know locals and develop your language skills while doing something you love.
Partisan Prague is mostly made up of non-Czechs living in Prague. They train weekly and typically compete in games every weekend. There’s also the Prague ExPat Super League (a.k.a. PEPSL), which only has one or two matches per month. This club prides itself on not taking themselves too seriously, and mostly organise to have fun and form a community in the Czech Republic.
Albion FC in Stockholm is always looking for new players to join its ranks. It’s an amateur football team that consists of players from multiple regions and nationalities. It was founded in 2009 on the basis of inclusivity and believes integration goes hand in hand with team success.
British Lions FC
Founded in 1996, the British Lions FC is the original English-speaking football club in Berlin. While the name has stuck, the team has expanded well beyond British expats into a vastly international club. They currently have three teams in the Berlin Freizeit-League and play by the motto “Come for the football, Stay for the atmosphere.” This keeps the team fun and brings people back each season.
For more than 100 years, BC Soccer has worked to give every British Columbian an opportunity to get involved in the sport regardless of age or ability. The goal of this organisation is to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. With more than 120,000 registered players and 11 adult leagues, you’re sure to find a local team to join that makes you feel welcome.
Vancouver Metro Soccer League
Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) was founded in 1973 and currently has more than 4,000 players, coaches and referees across 150 teams. VMSL is Western Canada’s largest men’s league and welcomes players of all ages to join. It is one of the top leagues associated with BC Soccer.
Toronto Irish FC
Toronto Irish FC is part of the Ontario Soccer League and boasts players from across the world, including from Mexico, Australia, Chile and England. The team was originally founded in 2008 to provide a social network for Irish immigrants, but has expanded to include participants from other countries and even locals.
Kendall Wanderers FC
Kendall Wanderers FC is the oldest amateur football team in Massachusetts. They have two over-30 teams and one over-40 team. The club was founded in 1976 as the Black Rose Soccer Team and played in the Massachusetts Soccer Association. They are currently reviewing their 2016 performance and preparing for an exciting 2017 season on the pitch.
Buenos Aires Fútbol Amigos
Buenos Aires Fútbol Amigos (BAFA) are a great option for expats in Argentina. This group has been described as “the oddest assortment of characters since the Cantina scene in Star Wars,” and assembles people based on their talent levels — or lack of. Football is a way of life in Argentina, so if you’re going to join a local club, make sure it’s one where you feel welcome and comfortable, like BAFA.