Featured Topic: Soccer 

Those who follow international soccer competitions will no doubt already know that the FIFA Women’s World Cup runs from June 7–July 7 this year. What you may not know is that a number of SBP Journal authors are also interested in the sport!

Players, coaches, and spectators are all invested in the activities involved in soccer games. In addition, Coban (2010) described soccer as a field game “that is also a commercial activity…which is controlled by the motivations and demands of the sponsors and sports markets” (p. 1153). Each of these parties has different motives for attending soccer games and holds a different perspective of the matches.

Cetinkalp and Turksoy (2011) examined individual motives for sports participation and showed that goal orientation and self-confidence were significant motivators for male adolescent soccer players. Further, Goral (2010) found that family support was key for encouraging high school students to participate in sport, with young men receiving more support than young women did, and those from wealthier families receiving more support than young adults from families with a lower socioeconomic status.

The importance of coaching style was examined by Chen, Wang, Wang, Ronkainen, and Huang (2016), who found that coaches who provided an autonomy-supportive environment helped their players to develop autonomy, responsibility, and self-regulation, whereas players whose coaches took a more controlling approach experienced more antisocial behavior (e.g., cheating or verbally criticizing other players). As for the experience of coaches themselves, rather than the players, Coban (2010) reported that soccer referees had good overall levels of job satisfaction, but there was a need for greater support for younger and less experienced referees. 

Many fans know the feeling of becoming so strongly invested in a game play that they tense up and angle their bodies forward, as if preparing to jump into the action and help their team to score a goal or defend against an opponent. In line with this, Kim and Jeong (2015) observed that the emotional intensity of their football spectator participants was greatest “when the outcome of a game was considered to be controllable” (p. 813). Fans who felt a sense of internal control over the outcome of a game were more satisfied with their favored team’s performance than were those who perceived the game’s outcome to be dependent on external forces. Further, Wang, Min, and Kim (2013) found that the well-being spectators experienced as a result of attending a game influenced their intention to revisit a future sports event and to engage in positive word of mouth about the match.

Although all of these groups have different reasons for attending a soccer match, their shared experience of the game unites them. If you’re interested in finding out what other aspects of the soccer experience SBP authors have investigated, why not browse the articles in our archive by signing up for a personal subscription? This gives you access to the more than 6,000 papers we’ve published in the fields of social, behavioral, and developmental psychology.

An evaluation of the job satisfaction levels of Turkish provincial football referees – Bilal Coban, 2010, 38(9), 1153–1166.

Goal orientation and self-efficacy as predictors of male adolescent soccer players’ motivation to participate – Zisan Kazak Cetinkalp and Ayse Turksoy, 2011, 39(7), 925–934.

Social attitudes of Turkish students towards participation in physical education and sport – Mehmet Goral, 2010, 38(9), 1243–1258.

Effects of coaching style on prosocial and antisocial behavior among Chinese athletes – Zuosong Chen, Dong Wang, Kun Wang, Noora J. Ronkainen, and Tao Huang, 2016, 44(11), 1889–1900.

The role of causal attributions in sport consumers' emotions and satisfaction judgment – Jun Woo Kim and Seung Hoon Jeong, 2015, 43(5), 803–814.

Fulfillment of sport spectator motives: The mediation effect of well-being – TzuShuo Ryan Wang, Sophia D. Min, and Suk Kyu Kim, 2013, 41(9), 1421–1434.