‘I’m proud of what I achieved; I’m also ashamed of what I done’: a soccer coach’s tale of sport, status, and criminal behaviour

Daryl Cowan, Ian M. Taylor

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the life of John (a pseudonym), a soccer coach working with disadvantaged young people. Six open-ended life history interviews over a ten week period ranging between 45 and 75 min were conducted. John described how soccer was fully entwined with aspects of his former delinquent and criminal lifestyle, including missing school lessons to play soccer, the fusion of soccer and youth violence, and competing in teams with local criminals. On the other hand, a soccer programme for people with limited opportunities helped him leave behind a life of delinquency, gang fighting, and selling drugs. Moreover, he came to understand that soccer could help him satisfy his desire for social recognition and fit with a relational narrative in a more socially legitimate way. This study provides an insight into how soccer was used to thwart a soccer coach’s formal criminal lifestyle, and also warns against uncritical assumptions that sport can serve as a panacea for deviant behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Early online date7 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2016

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Soccer
criminality
soccer
Sports
Life Style
Anonyms and Pseudonyms
teaching
social recognition
Criminal Behavior
Vulnerable Populations
deviant behavior
coach
delinquency
selling
Violence
Interviews
violence
drug
narrative
interview

Cite this

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