Technical Directors’ Perspectives of Selection Experiences in Canadian Youth Soccer Clubs


Selection is an omni-present phenomenon in youth sport organizations, contributing to an inevitable experience for athletes during adolescence. Selection experiences may elicit a variety of affective, cognitive, behavioural, and social outcomes. Particularly, when athletes are deselected or the selection process is undertaken/communicated poorly, young individuals may experience maladaptive consequences. Despite the prevalence and importance of selection in youth sport, research examining its structure and communication from the perspective of all stakeholders involved in within youth sport organizations is limited. The purpose of the present study was to explore the perspectives of selection experiences from a technical director perspective. A grounded theory approach was chosen for this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 male technical directors of licensed Canadian youth soccer clubs and 3 coach educators (2 female, 1 male) from Canada Soccer. Several methods to establish trustworthiness were applied and the analysis resulted in three higher order themes. First, ideal selection represented the participants’ vision of how the selection process should be undertaken. In particular, the subthemes of equality and policies were discussed. Second, the participants mentioned factors that inhibited ideal selection procedures. Subthemes were the description of ‘the system’ and as athlete individual differences Lastly, current robust processes and communication strategies were described as subthemes of real selection experiences in clubs. These results highlight the power of perceived external norms and established tendencies in guiding clubs to design selection experiences. Applied considerations and future research directions will be discussed.