With just a few days to go until the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, there’s no better time to take a look at the international players playing NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football in the United States this season.
Ninety-seven of FBS’s total of 131 participating shows (74%) have at least one international player on their rosters for the 2022 season. Of the players that hail from outside the 50 US states, 32 different countries are represented. Eighteen of these represented countries (including China, Denmark, Netherlands and Japan) have multiple players on the FBS lists this year.
Due to its prolific bettors coming from programs like Prokick, Australia tops the list of international contributors to college football this year, with 61 players in total. Fifty-four of these Australians are punters. The US’s neighbor Canada, which has its own competitive professional football league (the CFL), is in second place with 60 players in total.
Germany, the third highest ranked country with 27 FBS players this year, has deep cultural ties to the United States that were greatly strengthened after WWII, both economically and politically with tens of thousands of American servicemen stationed in the country. . The European Football League is currently reviving the memory of NFL Europe, and the NFL is playing its first regular season game in Germany (in Munich) later this fall.
This year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar is unique for several reasons. It will be the first FIFA World Cup to take place during the Northern Hemisphere’s autumn season, and the first such event to take place in a Middle Eastern country. It will also be the last World Cup competition to feature just 32 teams, as the 2026 event will feature 48 teams playing across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
For fans of American football and international football, this year’s World Cup could also present some tough viewing picks during Thanksgiving week and the start of college bowl season. The World Cup group stage will begin with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador on November 20, and the championship match will take place on December 18.
To relate to both of these topics, there are several interesting trends to watch out for among international players playing FBS football in 2022. Since tracking this 2019 FBS international player data, the number of players from Germany has almost tripled, by example. Other significant increases include Nigeria (four players in 2019 to nine in 2022) and the United Kingdom (zero to five).
Several foreign countries with players on the FBS lists are, perhaps unsurprisingly, traditional powerhouses in rugby. Though completely different sports, American football and rugby share many similarities, and I noted earlier this year that three rugby-loving countries in particular could become talent pipelines for NCAA football coaches before the United States hosts the World Cup. 2031 Rugby Cup. Cup.
Australia, UK, New Zealand, Tonga, Japan, Ireland, South Africa and France are all countries with competitive rugby squads that have multiple players playing FBS football in the US this year.
The astonishing 2022 Connecticut Huskies are threatening their first bowl spot in seven years with the help of eight international players – the most of any FBS show. In addition to fielding five players from Canada (including three from Quebec), UConn features players from Austria, Switzerland and Nigeria.
Syracuse and Arizona are tied for the second most foreign players, with six each.