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For Immigrant Athletes in Sarasota

Posted: June 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas | Tags: | No Comments »

Sports Immigration SNAFU

The story of Luke Rodgers, ex-Red Bull soccer star, provides a cautionary tale for immigrant athletes in Sarasota.

Luke Rodgers in Red Bulls Uniform

Luke Rodgers is a brilliant soccer (ehem, football) player and a prolific goal-scorer.  In January 2011 he signed with the New York Red Bulls for an MLS debut season.  He was able to secure a P-1 Athlete Visa beforehand after a lengthy process.  The visa allowed him to play in the United States for a year.

Despite being out for two months due to plantar fasciitis (strange how European soccer players tend to get injured right after they arrive in America).  He still scored 9 goals in 23 games.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rodgers’ P-1 visa was not renewed and on March 30, 2012 the Red Bulls had to terminate their contract with him.  He is now playing for a club in Norway.

But the Red Bulls continued to pursue Mr. Rodgers and, according to the New York Post, he has an appointment coming up with the US Consulate in Norway concerning his appeal of the P-1 visa denial.

The reason that Mr. Rodgers is having trouble with his P-1 Athlete Visa is because he has several arrests on his record from England.  The supporters may appreciate his fiery, feisty style of play but the USCIS does not.  Any previous arrests are seen as criminal inadmissibilities and hurt the applicant’s case.

It is important for immigrant athletes in the Sarasota area who are thinking of applying for or renewing a P-1 visa to be aware of the types of issues they may face.  If you find yourself in a situation similar to Mr. Rodgers’ you might think about contacting a Sarasota immigration attorney.

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Written by Chris Jaensch

Chris Jaensch

Attorney P. Christopher Jaensch received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1992 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1995 from the University of Florida. While at UF, he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa Society and Florida Blue Key, the oldest and most prestigious leadership honorary in the state of Florida.

Mr. Jaensch is a member of the Florida Bar, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Sarasota Bar Association. He has served as President of the Sarasota-Manatee International Trade Club and served as Regional Vice Chair, Tampa Bay, for the Central Florida Chapter of AILA. He was a member of City of Sarasota Charter Review Committee and has been active in several local organizations, including the influential Laurel Park Neighborhood Association in downtown Sarasota.

Mr. Jaensch has over 18 years of experience in the field of immigration and nationality law and focuses his practice on four primary categories (a) investors and entrepreneurs, (b) business executives, managers and professionals, (c) amateur and professional athletes and coaches and (d) performing artists and immigrants with extraordinary ability.

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