The Professionalization of Women’s Football in England and its Impact on Coaches’ Philosophy of Practice

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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  • 1 Liverpool John Moores University
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Women’s elite football is in a transitional phase where coaches and players are increasingly offered professional contracts. The current study examined the stories of coaches currently operating in a women’s football academy in England to understand whether and how the professionalization of women’s football has influenced their coaching philosophy. Narrative interviews with 10 coaches (aged 23–60 years, two women) were carried out and analyzed using thematic narrative analysis. Observational data were also obtained while the authors were immersed within the environment. Two high-order themes were identified: (a) the coaches adapted their philosophy to meet the new needs of professionalization and (b) there were novel moral challenges surrounding the coaches’ approach to a dual career. The findings illustrated that the individuals developed a coaching philosophy that was adapted according to the coaching environment, which was largely informed from their previous experiences in men’s football. Player’s stories highlighted conflicting expectations surrounding dual careers.

The authors are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Sleeman (Emilysleeman1101@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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