Soccer: the new Religion


For this website, I conducted scholarly research and formulated an interview schedule (shown below). The scholarly research was conducted on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. It consisted of both literary works and scholarly websites that centered on the historical and anthropological aspects of soccer and its perception as a religion. The interview schedule consisted of questions that were aimed at revealing the religious significance of the sport of soccer in a neutral, non-leading manner so that the interviewee would be saying what he truly felt, not what I, the interviewer, wanted. I conducted 10 personal interviews, focusing on the Mexican soccer fanatic. I utilized the idea of the "snowball effect." In other words, I interviewed a distant relative and then allowed him to direct me to other soccer fanatics. While doing this, I made sure not to interview anyone I knew at a very personal level. In this manner, I sought to gain meaningful insight into how these soccer fanatics interacted with the sport, while still ensuring that I was being emotionally neutral to the interview process.

The setting of the interviews was not of significant importance. I felt that interviewing them over the phone was sufficient enough. The main reason I chose this method was because it was the most convenient manner to do it. Many of the people I interviewed were not of close, local proximity. Secondly, the subject matter was one that I felt would be easy enough to talk about. Ideally, personal interviews reinforce a sense of confidentiality. This is absolutely critical on topics that are sensitive or uneasy for the individual. However, for my study, the interviewees were often excited and seemed genuinely interested in the subject and open to discussing it, even with a stranger. To ensure proper and adequate answers, I asked the individuals when it would be most convenient for them to be interviewed. In all 10 interviews, I found myself conducting my research over the phone between 7pm-10pm Eastern time. Obviously, this was expected since this is the time in which most individuals are home and not at work.

As can be seen from the website, my research was divided into specific case studies and an analysis of nationalism as found in the World Cup. Except in the case study on Mexico, all of my work was done through scholarly research. To find my sources, you can simply click on the hyperlink provided in the citation or visit the
Additional Readings and Links page.
Ritual and Religion in Soccer(Interview Schedule)
  • What is soccer?

  • How long have you been a fan of soccer?

  • What are some of the earliest memories you have of watching soccer?

  • Who were the first individuals you use to watch soccer with? Family? Friends? Older Siblings?

  • In what ways did these individuals influence your devotion to the sport?

  • To what extent would you say that soccer was an essential part of your life and the lives of those around you?

  • If there were any, what customs or practices always took place before watching a match or during a match? In other words, what did you habitually do when your favorite team played?

  • If there were customs or practices, why did you make them a habit? Was there a significance behind them? How much is it simply tradition?

  • What did the customs or practices signify for you?  Why do you do them?

  •  Currently, what practices and/or customs do you continue to do? Why do you continue or why did you stop doing certain practices and/or customs?

  • By doing these customs and/or practices, how much do you believe an outcome in a soccer game can be determined or be swayed in favor of a particular team?

  • How do you perceive the World Cup? What does this global event signify for you? Which is more significant for you, the World Cup or league games? Why?

  • Often, people say that soccer is the world sport because it has evolved into something more than just a mere game. How much do you agree with this statement? Elaborate, please.