2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Seungmo Kim

Hong Kong Baptist University
Nationalism, Internationalism, U.S. Soccer Fandom, and the 2018 World Cup

For the first time since 1986, the U.S. men’s national soccer team failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Thus, the 2018 tournament provided a unique opportunity to explore the intricacies of fandom in an increasingly connected and postmodern world, where ideas of nationalism and internationalism are often stand at odds. For the current study, we surveyed self-identified American soccer fans who planned to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup, asking which team they primarily intended to support. In addition, participants responded to items about soccer domain involvement, motivations for selecting their team of choice, and scales measuring sentiments of nationalism and internationalism. In this presentation, we will consider these findings through the lens of populism; while a distinct subject, populism and exclusionary nationalism frequently coincide in the modern American context. Further, this presentation will explore connections between U.S. citizens’ World Cup fandom, motivations for team identification, and attitudes about the U.S.’s place in the international community.