Participation in physical activity or sport has numerous benefits. This is more apt at the university level where students pursue multiple roles. However little is known on the participation motives and extent of connection (attachment) to different sport codes at the university level. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between participation motives and connection to soccer of male university players. It was predicted that participation motives and connection to soccer would not be mediated by selected demographic factors of birth rank and level of study. Data was collected through self-administered questionnaires from male university soccer players (n=242) who were taking part in a university soccer championship. Data was analyzed through descriptive statistics of percentages and means, while inferential statistics of one ANOVA was used to test for differences. The major motives for participation in soccer were to develop physical skills and abilities, keeping in shape and interaction with others with significant differences (p<0.05) based on birth ranks and year of study. Most of the soccer players were highly connected to soccer through attraction, identity affirmation and centrality with no significant differences (p>0.05) attributed to level of study and birth ranks. Study recommends that coaches and team trainers need to take stock of the players motives as they schedule training and competition. They should also explore ways and means of ensuring that soccer players are networked for continued participation.
Key words: Participation, motives, connection, university, soccer.