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I wanted to bring to people's attention the book "How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization," by journalist Franklin Foer.  Just as corporations expand to scores of countries, so do soccer players relocate all around the world in this age of globalization.  There are obvious network implications in tracing the patterns of player migration, as well as diffusion of culture and commerce.  Another form of linkage involves the dimesions that tie members of a given club of soccer fans together.

One thing that struck me was the contrast between the U.S. and other parts of the world in the bases on which people become fans of particular teams.  Having followed sports in the U.S. for over 30 years (I started as a little kid), I would say most people in the U.S. simply root for the professional teams in the city where they live and the college teams where they went to school.  Elsewhere in the world, in contrast, being a fan of a particular soccer team involves an extensive nexus of political, cultural, religious, and perhaps other ties.

I highly recommend the book.

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Alan Reifman, Ph. D.,  Associate Professor
Dept of Human Dev't and Family Studies
College of Human Sciences
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX 79409-1162
(806) 742-3000
http://www.hs.ttu.edu/hdfs/Faculty/reifman.htm

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