Parent Engagement in Elite Academy Football

  • The University of Wolverhampton ( Walsall Campus) and Wolverhampton Wanderers Academy Ground
  • 31st January 2020

Employer:  The University of Wolverhampton in partnership with Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club
Bursary:  Tax-free stipend of £15,009 per year plus the tuition fees at the UK/EU rate
Contract Type: Full time, fixed term, 3 years
Start date:  Week commencing 17 February 2020

Project: Parent Engagement in Elite Academy Football

Parents play a critical role in the lives of players attending football academies including areas such as influencing standard of involvement as well as the psycho-social development of players (Babkes & Weiss, 1999). There is evidence for a range of positive and negative effects that parents may have on young athletes (Ross, Mallett, & Parkes, 2015; Teques, Calmeiro, Rosado, Silva, & Serpa, 2019; Teques, Serpa, Rosado, Silva, & Calmeiro, 2016). In order to enhance parental involvement in youth sport research must not simply seek to manage parents, but rather seek to understand why parents get involved in their children’s sport, what type of behaviours they display, and how this influences young athletes.
This PhD programme aims to develop evidence-based interventions that foster positive parental influence and enhance the player-coach-parent triad.

Specifically, the PhD aims to:

1. Understand why parents get involved in their children’s academy football, and the behaviours displayed during involvement;
2. Understand how parent behaviours influence academy football players;
3. Examine 1 and 2 from player, parents and coaches’ perspectives;
4. Develop evidence-based interventions that foster positive parental influence and enhance the player-coach-parent triad.

It is anticipated this research will draw on a range of methodologies within sport psychology and other spheres of high-performance development. The precise research question(s) and methodologies adopted will be negotiated with the successful applicant.
Package description
Bursary Role Descriptor
Funding is available to support a full time fully funded (£15,009 + fee waiver) PhD, over a three-year period from September 2019 (or as soon afterwards as possible). This PhD studentship will form part of the Club’s EPPP (Category 1) academy provision and will focus on supporting academy players and coaches in the areas of delivering and monitoring psychological support services to youth players at the Club.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is one of only 22 clubs to be awarded the Category 1 rating for its Academy. Recently the Club has invested over £6.5 million into a new Academy building and full-size indoor arena, which will be based at the Club’s main training ground in Compton. The investment further signals the Club’s intention to develop home-grown players for the senior team. The PhD Studentship will primarily focus on the youth team and their parents providing an exciting opportunity for a post graduate student with an applied background.

The PhD student will usually be located at the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC Compton training venue studying alongside Academy staff, but will also be expected to attend the University (usually Walsall campus for at least one day per week for 30 weeks across the year) and, during specific times of scholarship, may be based there. This time will be provided for associated tuition, general research training and mandatory attendance at the Annual Progress Review. Whilst the successful applicant may undertake duties at the football club academy that are complementary to the PhD research (agreed in advance with the supervisory team), the focus and primary aim shall remain the successful completion of the PhD in the allotted timeframe.

Applicants should email a CV and covering letter detailing their suitability for the project and contact details of two referees to FEHWAcademicSupportW& Please clearly indicate the reference “PhD WWFC Sports Science” in the title of the email and on your cover letter.

Vacancy website address:

Vacancy email address: FEHWAcademicSupportW&


BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.



Contact us
  • Rooms G07 and G08 Fairfax Hall, Leeds Beckett University, Headingley Campus. Headingley, Leeds LS6 3QT
  • 0113 812 6164