‘Taking the next step’: Social Capital and the Development of Elite Women’s Football Players in South Australia

By Edoardo G.F. Rosso.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

There are several ways to look at the relationship between social capital and sport. While participation in sport can be seen as a vehicle of social capital accumulation, social capital arising from social relationships within a sporting system can be seen as a factor contributing to the technical development of players. This paper is based on largely qualitative empirical research undertaken in South Australia between 2007 and 2009 to understand how social capital may influence the passage of players from the bottom to the top levels of the South Australian women's football system. Social capital, defined as the ability of individuals and groups to gain resources by means of membership in social networks, can both foster and/or undermine the development of players. In particular, it can affect the ability of players to ‘take the next step’ in their sporting careers by favouring or hindering access to resources including coaching knowledge, mentorship, and moral support.

Keywords: Social Capital, ‘Achievement’ Sport, Players’ Production, Women’s Football (Soccer), South Australia

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.71-86. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 831.798KB).

Dr. Edoardo G.F. Rosso

PhD Candidate, School of Geography, Population and Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Edoardo is a PhD Candidate working on the relationship between social capital and success in sport, and particularly interested in the career of elite women’s football (soccer) players. Apart from his academic ‘relationship’ with sport, Edoardo is involved with South Australian ‘elite’ women’s football as a senior coach on a daily basis. He is originally from Turin (Italy), but settled in Australia over 10 years ago. He lived in Sydney, the Northern Territory and Adelaide. His research interests include sport geography, social capital, spatial inequality, social geography, general human and urban geography, identities and sport, and sporting and general communities. Edoardo is also editor of an online journal of Geography under the umbrella of the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG). His publications include work on the spatial organisation of women’s football in Adelaide, the geographical evolution of women’s football in South Australia, and the changing ethnic values of Adelaide women’s football clubs.