Becoming a Football Player: Identity Formation on a Women’s Tackle Football Team

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
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People commonly think of only men playing football. Football, however, has also been played by women for many years. Using a feminist interactionist framework, this study examines why women begin to play the game. The research questions that guided this study were: (1) what factors influence women’s decisions to play football? and (2) how do women begin to develop their identities as football players? Data were collected using participant observation over a two-year period and 10 semi-structured interviews. Some of the reasons participants stated for starting to play football were for their love of the sport, a desire to be a part of history, or the physicality of the sport. The women’s abilities and personal characteristics, significant others, and veteran players were crucial in the development of their identities as players. The information obtained could be used to bring more women into the sport.

Bobbi A. Knapp, Ph.D. Department of Kinesiology 185 Scotty Drive Carbondale, IL 62903 E–mail: Phone: (618) 453–3131

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