Soccer Referees’ Transition to the Premier League: A Case Study Reflecting Individual Experiences and Consultancy

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Soccer referees are performers on their own merit, yet little research has focused on their career transitions. This case study attempted to bridge this gap by examining 4 referees’ transition to the Israeli Premier League. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected as the referees advanced through their transitions. Data collection was done as part of a consultation process, designed to facilitate an effective transition adaptation. The analysis of data was guided by the framework of the scheme of change for sport psychology practice. The results indicated that the transition presented various on- (e.g., modifications of refereeing style) and off-field demands (e.g., social assimilation). The referees perceived the transition as a significant and positive career change event, yet 3 of them felt low to moderate perceived control over the new situation, as it was dependent on external factors. The referees coped with the transition through decision making, consulting with others, and applying problem-focused coping. They perceived the transition outcome as positive, maintaining balanced identities. The consultation process is discussed with several examples for the application of processes of change, with the objective of reaching a decision to change. The conclusions emphasize a balanced dual career, the rigor of the case study, and the role of the consultant.

The author is with the Dept. of Physical Education and Movement, Kibbutzim College of Education Technology and the Arts, Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Herzliya, Israel.

Address correspondence to roydsamuel@gmail.com.
Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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