Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

David Goldblatt

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Rights Information

© 2012 Stephanie Goldberger


A large Mexican-American population already exists in Los Angeles and, with each generation, it continues to rise. This Mexican-American community has maintained its connection to its heritage by playing and watching soccer, Mexico’s top watched sport. In this thesis, I analyze how Major League Soccer's Chivas USA serves as an outlet through which many Mexicans in Los Angeles have developed their ethnic identities. Since the early twentieth century, Mexicans in Los Angeles have created separate residential communities and sports organizations to strengthen their connections with one another.

To appeal to Mexican-Americans, Chivas USA has branded itself closely to its sister team Chivas Guadalajara of Mexico. I explore how Chivas USA's Mexican-American fans have responded to the team's arrival in Los Angeles by forming three different supporter groups — Legion 1908, Union Ultras, and Black Army 1850. By interviewing members of the Union Ultras and Black Army 1850, I learned their beliefs towards a range of issues, including: why they support Chivas USA rather than the Los Angeles Galaxy and how they view the poor representation of Mexican-American players on the United States National Soccer Team. As I conclude, these supporter groups have increased in number and diversity as Chivas USA has grown in popularity. To increase its Mexican-American fan base and to sustain professional soccer in Los Angeles, Chivas USA should relocate to a new stadium for the Major League Soccer's 2013 season and consider rebranding its name to "Chivas Los Angeles."