“From everything to nothing in a split second”: elite youth players' experiences of release from professional football academies

McGlinchey, T.R., Saward, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-9363-3410, Healy, L.C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1372-7308 and Sarkar, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-8338-8500, 2022. “From everything to nothing in a split second”: elite youth players' experiences of release from professional football academies. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4: 941482. ISSN 2624-9367

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Previous research has assessed the affects release from football academies has on psychological distress and athletic identity of players. However, there has been no qualitative research exploring players' experiences of the release process. This study retrospectively explored players' lived experiences of being released from a professional football academy, having completed a scholarship (from ages 16–18). Four male football players (age 21.6 ± 1.5 years) who had experienced release from professional academies participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four super-ordinate themes were interpreted from the data: Foreshadowing release—“left out in the cold”, The process of release, Support during the process of release and New beginnings—“there's a bigger world than just playing football every day”. Players reported that their contract meeting was a traumatic experience, and they experienced psychological difficulties in the longer-term following release. Factors that compounded the players' release were: a lack of aftercare being provided by the players' professional clubs for their wellbeing, and a disuse of social support, which hindered their transition out of full-time football. Context relevant recommendations are made to help improve the release process for elite youth football players.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Frontiers in Sports and Active Living
Creators: McGlinchey, T.R., Saward, C., Healy, L.C. and Sarkar, M.
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Date: 22 July 2022
Volume: 4
ISSN: 2624-9367
Rights: © 2022 McGlinchey, Saward, Healy and Sarkar. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 29 Jul 2022 15:29
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2022 15:29
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/46784

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