Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Religious and Theological Studies

First Advisor

Miguel A. De La Torre

Second Advisor

Andrea M. Stanton

Third Advisor

Marco Nathan


Constructive ethic, FC Bayern, FC Dallas, Religion, Soccer, Social ethics


For thousands of soccer fans around the world, soccer is their religion. This dissertation marks the first extended examination of what religious soccer is, what it looks like in practice, and how it impacts the lives of fans in the context of professional club soccer. It provides a framework for non-fans to understand how religious supporters view the game and addresses major moments in the development of soccer throughout the world, paying special attention to the difference between the United States and the rest of the world. Religious soccer is then explored in depth, drawing on ethnographic research with over five hundred fans spread across the world. The role of soccer in the everyday life of religious supporters, their rituals, and the ways in which they make meaning are explored, presented alongside the XI Commandments, as set of unique arguments that further illuminate religious soccer to non-practitioners.

Religious supporters are most commonly found in supporters groups, officially recognized fan organizations, and thus the interaction between clubs and their supporters groups matters greatly. For clubs, soccer is a business and their focus on finances often puts them at odds with their supporters. Using a case study about the relationship between the Dallas Beer Guardians and FC Dallas from 2014-2016, it that demonstrates how fraught these relationships can become and how long it can take to restore a working relationship between the two groups. In order to improve these relationships, this dissertation offers a unique constructive social ethic that individuals and groups can utilize in their shared work. Unlike other ethics, this ethic is essentially a toolbox, wherein a number of different situations can be addressed using the same ethical system; it recognizes that situations vary and thus the same tools do not work universally. The tools contained within the ethic are designed to promote healthy, intentional relationships. Though presented in a soccer context, the ethic itself is not exclusive to this soccer context. It is designed to be contextualized by whomever is using it, providing a flexible and adaptable ethic that allows for creative responsiveness to small issues before they become bigger problems.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Rebecca A. Chabot

File size

490 pgs

File format





Ethics, Philosophy of religion, Religion