Women training to coach a men’s sport: Managing gendered identities and masculinist discourses

Beth Fielding-Lloyd, Lindsey Mean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Despite increasing female participation in English football (aka soccer), the sport remains rooted in the values and discursive practices of orthodox masculinity. This is exemplified by the English Football Association (FA), which has been criticized for its ineffective responses to addressing the inclusion and progression of women as players and workers within the organization. Female membership in male-dominated organizations is not readily achieved, given the dominance of masculinist discourses and the risks of overtly challenging these. In this study, we explored the discursive management of gendered and/or footballing identities from interviews with participants in an English regional FA’s women-only football coach education program. All of the participants described the peripheral positioning of women in English football. Analysis identified evidence of both collaboration with and resistance to the dominant masculinist discourses in the accounts of their experiences in football, while also reproducing the most valued footballing identities and knowledge as male. We connect this to the complexities of negotiating and managing gendered identities for women in male-dominated organizations. All of the participants described the value and benefits of women-only coach education and the majority noted they would prefer women-only coach education in future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-423
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication and Sport
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Coach training
  • Football/soccer
  • Gendered discourses
  • Identities
  • Sport organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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