A qualitative analysis of motives and challenges in professional female soccer
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This study investigated the motives and challenges experienced by professional female soccer players in South Africa. It used a qualitative research approach in which data was collected from eleven purposively selected participants code–named R1 to R11 through in–depth interviews. During the data analysis process, participants responses were synthesised into themes and sub–themes that revealed the challenges faced by professional female soccer players as well as factors that motivated them to play. The results of the study revealed that female participation in professional soccer is influenced by factors such as supportive family and friends, available time to practice, good sports facilities, and supportive male and female relationships. However, scarcity of career opportunities, inadequate funding and time, together with negative attitudes towards women entering soccer as a male–dominated sport were major challenges that discouraged their participation. In order to attract more females to soccer, the study recommends that sports administrators should understand motivation factors as well as challenges to participation in the sport. It further recommends that understanding the needs, attitudes and experiences of females may enable soccer administrators to put systems in place to address barriers to their participation in soccer. A need still remains for the formulation and implementation of policies focusing on women s soccer funding, enforcement of professional development of women s soccer and the creation of a comfortable environment to support female participation.