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What the World Cup is Teaching Us About Citizenship

Soccer is the sport played most consistently around the world. It’s not sectioned off or dominated by one particular country. According to FIFA’s most recent survey, there are 265 million players actively involved in soccer around the world, or roughly 4 percent of the world’s population.
The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sports event. Approximately 715 million people watched the 2006 final match in Germany, while the 2010 South Africa event was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels.
Not only do countries from around the globe come together to compete in the World Cup, but players from multiple countries come to represent the country of their choosing. Athletes, especially soccer players, have a uniquely high number of multinational or dual citizen players. Of the 958 players named on the initial 30-man rosters, 30 percent are dual nationals. And, there is a huge range of the number of dual national players on various teams. For example, Argentina’s team tops the list with 24 dual nationals, while Ecuador and South Korea’s teams have none.
The United Nations estimates that 232 million people (3.2 percent of the world’s population) are migrants (someone who has crossed an international border). With the rise of globalization, the concept of citizenship has changed. An individual can have dual nationality and still play for the team that they identify as “home.”
There are a number of benefits to gaining citizenship in the United States, including:
• The right to vote.
• The right to run for office.
• The right to petition for lawful permanent resident status for family members.
• Freedom of travel and U.S. protection for travel.

You can learn more about the benefits of citizenship on our blog at

A benefit that is most frequently misunderstood is the ability to retain other citizenships. Immigrants who gain citizenship, or naturalize, in the United States do not have to forfeit their previous nationality or passport. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that dual nationality is “a status long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both. The mere fact that he asserts the rights of one citizenship does not without more mean that he renounces the other.” (Kawakita v. U.S., 343 U.S. 717, 1952.)
If you are interested in learning more about citizenship, its many benefits or the process, please contact our offices today for a consultation. In the meantime, enjoy the conclusion of the World Cup!