Blog Template Theology of the Body: Soccer and the church

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Soccer and the church

Continuing my interest this week in the intersection of the church and soccer, I ran across this fascinating article in the Guardian about the relationship. It turns out that almost a third of the teams that have played in the English Premiership since its inception in the early 90s had their origins as church organizations in the late 19th century. The details are in this book, which is not yet out in the U.S., but will be added to my Amazon wish list as soon as it is available. The famed Liverpool club, Everton (which currently includes the devout Christian and American goalkeeper, Tim Howard), was started as a Sunday school class at a Methodist church! As the article points out, many of the clubs started off to provide a positive outlet for young men in the very poorest areas of Britain -- and times have certainly changed.

Of course, nothing captures the intersection of soccer and the church (in an unfortunately negative way) than the great Scottish rivalry between the Protestant Rangers and the Catholic Celtic.