“We’re All the Same and We Love Football.” Experiences of Players and Facilitators Regarding a Collaborative, Inclusive Football Program Between Academy and Special Olympics Footballers

Melissa A. Fothergill*, Danna Baik, Hannah M. Slater, Pamela L. Graham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study provides insight into an inclusive program between Special Olympics (SO) and academy football (soccer) players in the United Kingdom from the perspectives of players and facilitators. Qualitative focus groups were conducted across 30 participants (six facilitators, 14 Premier League academy players, and 10 SO players). Focus groups compared stakeholders’ experiences of participating in a season-long inclusive football program. Three overarching higher order themes were generated, which highlighted positive outcomes from taking part. SO players provided endorsement for developing friendships and improving football skills, whereas academy players cited the positive impact that SO players had on their mood and motivation. Facilitators reflected on positive player outcomes and subsequent accomplishments. Overall, the findings indicated that this shared experience had psychosocial and football-specific benefits for everyone who participated. Facilitators indicated that these benefits could transition into everyday life but noted that there needs to be further considerations for future programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-706
Number of pages20
JournalAdapted Physical Activity Quarterly
Volume40
Issue number4
Early online date25 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Cite this