Why do soccer fans root for the teams they do?
The World Cup offers a unique platform to witness the world sharing a common stage. Yes, there is the Olympics, but the passion related to World Cup soccer sets it apart. I appreciate soccer but would not be accused of being a fan. As such, I observe the World Cup without the emotion reserved for its fans. In terms of helping address the opening question, “Why do soccer fans root for the teams they do?” here’s what I’ve observed:
Fans choose teams to root for a whole host of reasons; from the legitimate to the fickle (you decide which is which). World Cup fans appear to root for a specific team because of:
Like the Colors
Like the food
Like the beer
Like the women/men
For me, the national pride and family heritage make sense. Those who resort to a preferred beverage or some other trivial reason makes less sense, but they’re having fun, so who cares. My particular interest is to understand the motivation of those who choose a team based on race and culture, specifically when they possess more than one race and/or culture.
As a self-proclaimed bicultural, biracial observer, I find it curious that most my Hispanic friends are claiming Spain on the eve of the final match against the Netherlands. Yes, I understand that Spain is a valid common denominator for Spanish-speaking people the world over. However, the generational degrees of separation between many Hispanics in Latin America (and U.S. Hispanics) and Spain can be considerable. If degrees of separation do not matter, then what of those same Latin Americans who can trace at least part of their ancestry to other countries, specifically Africa? Would they have supported Ghana or any other African country had they made the final? After all, you do know those dark-skinned players on Latin American teams are not just very tanned white guys, right?
And oh yeah, ¡Viva España!