Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Hambrick, Marion

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Greenwell, T. Chris

Committee Member

Hancock, Meg G.

Author's Keywords

elite club soccer; constraints; facilitators; stakeholders; soccer


The purpose of this study was to examine perceived constraints and facilitators among parents and guardians as key stakeholders in elite youth soccer clubs. Specifically, this study identified constraints and facilitators affecting continued participation, negotiation strategies employed to help overcome constraints, demonstrated the role of parents and guardians play in organizational success, and illustrated their stakeholder salience. The present study utilized leisure constraint and stakeholder theories as the theoretical foundation. Leisure constraint theory outlined the three categories of constraints (and facilitators), which are intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural. Stakeholder theory described how constituent groups affect organizational success by examining their specific wants and needs in an elite soccer context. To address the study’s purpose, a qualitative phenomenological approach was utilized. Two different data collection techniques were employed: (a) a demographics survey and (b) personal interviews. The survey was sent to member of a single elite youth club in the Midwest. Survey responses provided insight into the club’s members and their characteristics, including gender, age, household income, and race. Those who were willing to participate in an interview were then contacted, and ten interviews were conducted. Results of the study determined there were a wide variety of reasons which inhibit, or help, continued participation. For example, lack of facility quality negatively affected continued participation, while positive coaching experiences positively affected continued participation. Parents and guardians also employed several negotiation strategies to overcome constraints, including relying on others, to help ensure continued participation. Finally, parents and guardians were found to play a key role in organizational success but lacked elements of power, legitimacy, and urgency. The study’s results produced several theoretical and practical implications for researchers and club organizers. First, this study identified similarities and differences to previous literature. For example, use of parents and guardians as the study’s sample further added to leisure constraint and facilitator literature by examining those who do not actively participate but serve as their children’s core decision-maker. This study also expanded stakeholder literature by investigating parents’ and guardians’ wants and needs and their effect on organizational success. From practical perspective, it is important for club organizers to recognize and understand parents’ and guardians’ perspective. This could include allowing them to provide feedback in a clear and systematic manner. This study provided valuable insight into parents and guardians as key stakeholders in a club soccer specific context.