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“Knowing Christ is the best thing that has ever happened to me, although winning the US Open was a pretty good second.”

Alison Nicholas

Junior and Youth Grassroots Football Culture

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Jimmy 0’Gorman (ed), London. Routledge, 2018. ISBN 13:978-1-138-04757-0

The book begins with an assertion that little empirically and theoretically is known about grassroots youth football. Having been involved in local boys’ football as a parent and club committee member, I was really interested in this book.

By far the most interesting chapter was Children’s voices in mini soccer: an exploration of critical incidents Jimmy 0‘Gorman and Kenny Greenough.

Ten incidents from games were videod and shown back to the children players. The feedback and analysis from the kids was fascinating. As the authors state normally children are evaluated by adults. Giving them a chance to contribute was unusual and produced interesting results and real insights.

The book also includes a report on the work undertaken by the FA in the field of junior and youth grassroots football (The English Football Association Charter for Quality: the development of junior and youth grassroots football in England. Les Howie and Wayne Allison) and an American study of girls in youth soccer which suggested that the girls were more aware of racial and social differences than their parents (A generational divide within the class-based production of girls in American youth soccer Lisa Swanson).

Other topics looked at are reasons for young people giving up playing football, how participation in a grassroots football team can contribute to social inclusion, what contributes to enjoyment of football among young people and the importance of role models for girls.

An excellent, interesting and informative book

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