The challenges of playing abroad: How to support sports expatriates

Marian van Bakel, Susan Salzbrenner

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


Professional athletes moving abroad for their career is a novel phenomenon in IHRM. This exploratory paper charts the motives of sports expatriates to move abroad to play, as well as integration support and challenges. A survey was conducted with 108 sports expatriates in nine different sports. The main motivations to move abroad were the search for new challenges, followed by an interest to experience life abroad. In terms of challenges, different coaching style and team communication were most often mentioned. Support was mainly informal, through team mates rather than professional providers. Our paper contributes to the literature because it is one of the first studies focusing on sports expatriates from an international HR perspective. Our study provides information on a vulnerable group of expatriates; they are young and live under extreme performance pressure. Sports expatriates need all the support they can get, and yet, very little professional support is offered.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event3rd Global Conference on International Human Resource Management - St Johns University, New York, United States
Duration: 18. May 201720. May 2017
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd Global Conference on International Human Resource Management
LocationSt Johns University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'The challenges of playing abroad: How to support sports expatriates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this