Soccer Spectatorship and Identity Discourses Among Latino Immigrants

Monika Stodolska, Scott Tainsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the role of soccer spectatorship in identity development and community-building processes among Latino immigrants. Transnationalism and social identity theory were used as a theoretical foundation of this study. Twelve interviews with immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, and Argentina were conducted between June 2009 and January 2010. Interviews took place in two sports bars following the soccer games between the U.S. men's National Team and that of Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. The findings showed that the interviewees developed three types of identities: national, pan-ethnic (Latino), and transnational. Common interest in soccer led to forging bonds with other Latinos and in creating a community feeling and allegiances. Reinforcing identities and displaying togetherness and, at the same time, difference from others, was often achieved through symbolic means. The findings are analyzed in the context of the literature on (new) nationalism, identity politics, and imagined communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-159
Number of pages18
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015


  • ethnic identity
  • leisure diversity
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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