Tales from the pitch: some observations on the gendered dynamics of English collegiate soccer

John Harris, Ben Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Association Football (Soccer) has undoubtedly become the national sport of England and is positioned as a sort of male preserve where dominant notions of hegemonic masculinity are promoted and celebrated. Yet alongside this, over the past decade, women's soccer has been one of the fastest growing sports in the country. The following paper critically reflects upon the gendering of soccer through reference to data collected in two ethnographic studies undertaken at a College in the South of England. The first of these studies examined the experiences of female soccer players. The second study, building upon the framework of the first, examined the experiences of male soccer players. Both studies look at the way(s) in which the soccer players "do gender" and how the athlete's make sense of their participation in the game. Our aim in this paper is to critically assess how gendered ideologies are (re)produced and (re)presented in a collegiate sport. It also reflects upon the role of males within the female soccer subculture and the role of women within the men's game. This study provides insights into the gendering of a sport and the tensions inherent within the competing discourses and ideologies that shape these soccer environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-262
Number of pages24
JournalJournal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • gender dynamics
  • association football
  • female football players


Dive into the research topics of 'Tales from the pitch: some observations on the gendered dynamics of English collegiate soccer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this