Pre-Soccer Game Ritual

“D” is a 19 year old female student at The University of Southern California. She is a Chemistry major and interested in pursuing Pharmacy after college.  She is Vietnamese on both sides of her family and describes herself as very close with her sister, whom she shares many Folkloric traditions with. She played soccer up through high school and is currently active in the rugby community.



“D: Okay so before each game I would have, it sounds really weird, I would have a chocolate mocha and than I would have to put on my socks left first, than right second. I would also have to put my right cleat on before my left, and my left before my right, in reverse order basically.

Me: Was this because it happened sometime in the past and it worked?

D: It was because it was like a habit, and we won and I kinda just stuck to it.

Me: Do you think there is any validity to that helping you during the game?

D: No, it’s just a superstition. Like I would jump like three times before the whistle blew.

Me:  Was it just you do did the team sorta, did the team sort of condone it?

D: The team had their own little things to do, we’d all like get in a circle before and we’d like talk, we all usually said the same things, like to pump each other up and we’d do like a team sprint to like win.

Me: Do you remember when that started, you had to have noticed that and decided to do it again at some time.

D: It was probably when I was like 10 or 11, when soccer really started to get competitive rather than like recreational.

Me: Okay, so when you played recreational you didn’t have any superstitions?

D: No. It didn’t really matter because I beat everyone”



The pre-game ritual is a well known superstition used to enhance one’s luck in a game prior to the game, they are widely used by profession sports teams (Barabbi, 2014),( Yeager, 2014) and non-professionals alike. “D”s attempt to replicate prior conditions that allowed her to win in the past points at an attempt to replicate a past event that had a favorable outcome, possibly by keeping as many variables the same as possible. Though she does acknowledge it plays no effect on her performance, her continued use of the ritual points to it being reinforcing in some respect. Its use after she considered soccer to be more competitive likely means she did believe it to garner some sort of advantage at the time she conceived of the ritual (Tobacyk & Shrader, 1991).



Work Cited

Barrabi, T. (2014). World Cup 2014: 8 Weirdest Pregame Rituals And Superstitions. International Business Times. Retrieved 30 April 2015, from

Tobacyk, J., & Shrader, D. (1991). Superstition and self-efficacy.Psychological Reports, 68(3c), 1387-1388.

Yeager, S. (2015). Pregame rituals of the pros. Retrieved 30 April 2015, from