Precarious pursuits, broken ‘dreams’ and immobility among Northern Irish soccer migrants

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For many young talented Northern Irish (NI) football players, fulfilling the dream of becoming a professional lies in their ability to migrate to England or Scotland. However, for those who make this move, their migratory journey is often short-lived and the reality for most is involuntary immobility. This article is based on the experiences of a small sample of NI players (no. 8) who migrated ‘across the water’ to pursue a professional football career, only for their aspirations to be cut short either at the end of their youth training or in the early stages of their career. Semi-structured interviews with these players provides novel insights into their post-migration experiences, specifically around the nature of their release, readjustment to life back at ‘home’ and the ways in which the lack of career planning and limited educational qualifications and the psycho-social costs of their experiences exposed them to potentially precarious futures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSport in Society
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished online - 1 Apr 2019


  • Northern Irish footballers
  • migration
  • precarity
  • deselection
  • involuntary immobility
  • Northern Irish ­footballers


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