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Junior and Youth Grassroots Football Culture : The Forgotten Game (Hardcover)
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Football is ubiquitously acknowledged as ‘The Global Game’ and/or ‘The People’s Game’ – everyday all-encompassing terms familiar to anyone with an interest in football which illustrate albeit nebulously, the game’s international reach and popularity. Yet much academic and popular attention has been, and continues to be, narrowly centred on topics pertaining to the elite and professional aspects of the game. At a time when there appears to be an ever widening gap between the grassroots and elite levels of the sport, this book brings together, for the first time, a collection of research articles dedicated solely to youth and junior grassroots football. The intention is to generate future inquiry, encourage theoretical debate and stimulate empirical research on topics and issues within the relatively marginalised area of the game that is youth and junior grassroots football. The collection represents a preliminary consideration of what is already currently known about grassroots football and, no less importantly, point towards what remains unknown and under-researched but which deserves much more attention than has been given hitherto. As such, the collection includes contributions from practitioners and researchers alike. Topics included range from the provision, organisation and development of grassroots football in one national association, to broader issues such as the sources of enjoyment in participation, the lived expiries of junior players and coaches, to the causes of youth drop out from football. In addition, the significance of social stratification and various forms of social division which structure children’s participation in grassroots football are discussed. These include female participation and the role of elite female role models, and issues relating to the participation of immigrant youth. The book is intended to appeal to practitioners, academics and football enthusiasts alike. This book was originally published as a special issue of Soccer & Society.