'You've not made the grade, son': De-selection and identity disruption in elite level youth football

Gavin Brown, Paul Potrac*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to utilize in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of young former elite footballers whose respective professional careers were prematurely ended as a consequence of deselection. To this end, the analysis focuses upon (a) the respondents' development of a strong athletic identity, (b) the impact of deselection on the respondents' sense of self, and (c) the respondents' adaptations to life outside of professional football. The results indicated that the development of a strong athletic identity contributed to considerable emotional and psychological disturbances upon deselection, which included feelings of anxiety, fear, depression, anger and humiliation. While the majority of the participants are attempting to build new unified self-concepts and alternative identities, they were critical of the limited social support that they had received from their respective professional clubs when making the transition out of professional football.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-159
Number of pages17
JournalSoccer and Society
Volume10
Issue number2
Early online date21 Feb 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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