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Keywords:

  • Borderzone;
  • Soccer;
  • Immigration;
  • Hispanics;
  • North Carolina

Soccer is a worldwide sport with fervent fans across the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Recent Hispanic arrivals in the United States find common ground with U.S. American soccer fans, but social and cultural issues are still barriers to better relationships among Hispanics and non-Hispanic residents. Using the concept of “soccer borderzone,” I relate the ways in which futból (soccer) is a mechanism by which immigrants from Latin America can relax and adapt to life in their new communities. This article discusses the underlying issues that bring together and divide soccer fans in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina (Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham). It also illustrates different cultural norms in the organization of league play. I use my eight-year experience as the president of a Hispanic Soccer League, La Liga de Raleigh, to explain the cultural norms of Hispanic participation in league play while feeling the effects of being an outsider in a new community. This article concludes by suggesting that in spite of common ground among soccer fans North and South, the recent spike in anti-immigrant rhetoric accompanied by the sinking of the American economy has slowed the process of integration within the soccer borderzone.