Japanese Female Professional Soccer Players’ Views on Second Career Development

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Kozue AndoFaculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Bunkyo, Japan

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Takahiro SatoFaculty of Health and Sport Sciences, International Development and Peace through Sport, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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Emma V. RichardsonSchool of Sport and Exercise, University of Worcester, Worcester, United Kingdom

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Takafumi TomuraDoctoral Program in Physical Education, Health, and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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Yu FurutaDoctoral Program in Physical Education, Health, and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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Haruka KasaharaTsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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Takahiko NishijimaFaculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Bunkyo, Japan

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The purpose of this study was to analyze professional, Japanese, female soccer athletes’ views on second career development and perceived support from the Women’s Empowerment Professional Football League, Japan. This study was underpinned by occupational socialization theory and utilized a qualitative, collective case study design through demographic questionnaires, in-depth face-to-face semistructured interviews, and reflexive thematic analysis. Participants were six current professional soccer players of one professional team of the Women’s Empowerment League. Three themes were generated from the data: (a) avoiding washout effects in second career opportunities, (b) the importance of dual-career pathway opportunities, and (c) professional development and second career training. These findings reflected how participants’ first career as a professional athlete became ingrained within their identity and shaped future desires and preparations for second careers. They also reflect the difficulty participants experienced balancing a professional athletic career with part-time office work for financial stability as well as planning for a second career linked to soccer. Players expressed a need for second career preparation to be facilitated by their clubs and the Women’s Empowerment League, and we provide implications and recommendations to support this work.

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