When looking to make friends in a new country, there's often no faster or more effective way than to pick up a local sport.
Here are the most common destinations in some popular sports destinations around the world.
1) United States:
Read this: Top 10 Most Popular Sports in America So Far
Some say that sport in the USA is going through something of a revolution right now. A slow revolution, but one all the same. The most popular sports in the country, American football, basketball and baseball, while still very popular, are currently being overtaken by hockey and football, which are gaining popularity among young people.
Similar to China and the United Kingdom, the United States is very successful in a variety of sports, and really, no matter what interests you the most, you will be able to find a community that shares your interest.
Must Read: Australia's Top 10 Most Popular Sports 2019-20
Sport has been an integral part of Australian culture since the founding of the nation, with sports like cricket, Aussie Rules football and rugby being some of the most watched and played.
Australia's sporting history is marked by great successes, stories and moments. Events like the Ashes, the Melbourne Cup and the America's Cup have all helped shape Australia's national identity in addition to their successes at the Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games.
Being a fairly cold nation in places, Canadian sports often reflect its frigid nature, with ice hockey being by far the most common. They have also had success in lacrosse, Canadian football, soccer, basketball, curling and baseball.
Canada: Top 10 most popular sports in Canada in 2019-2020
4) United Kingdom:
The UK is the birthplace of golf, football, rugby, tennis, cricket, badminton and many more, while variations of some of its sports have found great success elsewhere. There are a multitude of options for sports that you can choose from and you will undoubtedly find opportunities to practice even the lesser known or popular sports of your choice.
Informative: Top 10 most popular sports in the UK
Great Britain prides itself on a great sporting tradition and its recent successes at the Olympic Games are emblematic of this. However, if you're looking for something easy to understand and play, football is your best bet here. There are clubs and training grounds across the islands and it is undoubtedly the most popular sport there with millions of people logging on to watch Premier League matches every week.
China has long been closely associated with martial arts, although its size and diversity mean that China is a big supporter of many other sports, as evidenced by its successes at the Olympics. Basketball, football, table tennis and volleyball are all frequently watched and played.
Like most European countries, football is the most popular sport in France, with just under 2 members in the league. France is also known for its rugby, its motorsports and, of course, its cycling, with the Tour de France taking place there, the most prestigious cycling race.
There is no doubt that football, like many other countries, is the most popular sport. Germany have won the FIFA World Cup four times, while FC Bayern Munich have become one of the strongest clubs in the world.
Other popular sports include ice hockey, basketball, handball, motor sports and tennis.
Germany is one of the most successful sports nations of all time, ranking third in total Olympic medal count and there are approximately 100 sports clubs in Germany. You probably won't have to travel very far to find a sport that you both enjoy and that is commonly practiced nearby.
Cricket is the most widely played sport in India, while football, hockey, badminton and tennis vary in popularity by region. Kabaddi is a sport originating from India. In a contact team sport, one player from each team runs into the opposing half of the court and attempts to tag members of the opposing team, then returns to their half of the court. If the raider is tackled, however, the opposing team earns a point.
India: Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India 2019-2020
Popular sports in Japan include both traditional Asian competitions and more recent Western innovations. Sumo, judo, karate, and kendo are inherently Japanese, massively popular, and of great importance to the country's culture, while baseball and soccer have also become commonly played recently.
Japan: Top popular baseball teams in Japan
Of course, training in sumo or karate can take time (and considerable effort) for someone who isn't Japanese, so it might be a bit easier to break into Japanese culture via baseball or football.
There are approximately 35 sports clubs in the Netherlands, with more than a quarter of the registered population. About two-thirds of the population over the age of 000 practice a sport at least once a week. To sum up, the Netherlands is a country with enormous sporting potential.
Football is the most popular, with hockey, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics and golf also enjoying great success. For something more local you can try (pole vault over a river), (similar to shot put) or korfball (a cross between netball and basketball).
Sweden is an incredibly active nation and it is estimated that around half of the population spends their free time with one sport or another. The most popular are handball, football, golf, athletics and gymnastics, while others like ice hockey, basketball and tennis are also common.
More particular to Sweden are sports that use the country's most unique environments, such as kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, hiking, hot air ballooning, fishing and hunting. They may not be for the faint-hearted, but they will definitely make you close friends!
As in Japan, Thailand's favorite sports are a mix of more local traditional events and popular Western games that have recently taken hold. Both of these stories are most evident in Muay Thai, a combat sport similar to boxing and, of course, football.
A special mention should also be given to golf, as Thailand has been described as the golf capital of Asia, with over 200 world-class golf courses throughout the country, attracting golfers from around the world to PGA and LPGA tournaments. .
The truth is that it's typical for a country to lean towards one or two sports in particular, but most if not all of these countries will have all sorts of options depending on your experience, preferences or ambition.
Any sport is a great opportunity to meet new people and build friendships. And each person has the sport that suits them. If you haven't found yours yet, keep looking no matter what country you're in and you're bound to find something that suits you.
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