Being in the right place at the right time: Resources and barriers in the transition from youth to senior in a Danish elite football club

Nicolai Rosenkilde, Nikolaj Christiansen & Niels Nygaard Rossing
Aalborg Universitet


This instrumental case study investigated the internal and external resources and barriers in football players’ transition from junior to senior in an elite football club. Data was gathered through interviews with two coaches and five players who recently had transitioned from youth to senior elite level. Thematic analysis uncovered specific intrapersonal and environmental resources and/or barriers. The findings suggest that football clubs need to both psychologically educate and prepare youth players to the transition, but also the youth players’ near and professional relations in the transition from junior to senior level.


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NICOLAI ROSENKILDE, MSc. Sports Science, Aalborg University is specialized in the field of player and talent development and sport psychology focusing on youth athlete retention in sport and persistent motivation in youth sport. Nicolai has worked with youth elite athletes in Danish mountainbike as a coach and board member.

NIKOLAJ CHRISTIANSEN, MSc. Sports Science, Aalborg University, has a particular interest in the fields of talent development and elite sport, specifically regarding talent identification and selection and the relative age effect.

NIELS NYGAARD ROSSING is an Assistant Professor and member of the research group Sports and Social Issues at Aalborg University. He does research in the field of child and youth sports, with a particular emphasis on player and talent development. Sport psychology, talent development and ball games are focus areas in his teaching and research at Aalborg University.


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