Year of Publication

2014

Date of Thesis

05-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Abstract

In the United States, millions of children play soccer for youth soccer clubs. These clubs provide children the opportunity to exercise, compete, enjoy the company of peers, and develop skills. Yet, while many youth soccer clubs have developmental philosophies, the degree to which these philosophies are actually implemented by club coaches is unknown. Since there are many variables involved in the training of a youth soccer player, from coaching philosophies and coaching practices, to athlete's sporting experiences and the climate of the club as a whole, the relationship between these factors is important for anyone involved in creating a youth soccer experience.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there is congruence between 1) the stated philosophy of the club, 2) implementation of this philosophy by coaches and 3) experiences of players and their parents. Coaches ( n = 3) from a youth soccer club in the Northeast United States, as well as players ( n = 4) and parents (n = 4) from the same club took part in semi-structured interviews to determine the club's implementation of their official club philosophy.
Results were determined by content analysis. This analysis resulted in the higher order themes of "professional coaching," "soccer specific training," and "professional organization." Eight lower order themes related to the club's "physical environment," "atmosphere," "administration," "style of play," "practice characteristics," "coaching development," "coaching climate," and "coach characteristics." These themes were related back to the club's official philosophy. Out of the eight lower-order themes, six were found in the official philosophy. Themes not found in the official philosophy were "physical environment" and "coach characteristics." The club philosophy mentioned the importance of the premier level leagues that the club in a part of. However, no themes relating to the club's status as a member of a select league emerged.

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