Lecturers from the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have established a new ‘Football Research Group’.
The aim of the group is to examine new theoretical and practical approaches for the purpose of influencing football policy both nationally and internationally. The group will adopt a coordinated approach to researching football in Ireland and will involve researchers from different fields.
Membership of the group includes researchers with links to the Italian FA, and a range of English, Italian and German professional clubs.
The group has already gained the prestigious position of being designated as the official research partner with the Croatian Football Association. These links will also provide opportunities for WIT students, and dissertation projects have already been initiated in partnership with external group members.
Laura Finnegan, Lecturer in WIT’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science and Course Leader on Recreation and Sports Management degrees, believes that there are fantastic individual researchers in football based in Ireland, but these researchers do not have a centralized hub.
“The group initially identified a lack of coordinated research being conducted on football in the Republic of Ireland and decided to bring together some of those involved in various pockets of research nationwide to aid the collaboration and dissemination of football research.
“There is great scope for other researchers embedded in other sports and wider associated aspects e.g., talent development, coaching, performance analysis, to contribute to the group also,” Ms Finnegan said.
The Football Research Group is comprised of lecturers from the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at WIT who have a wide range of expertise in talent development and organizational structure in football, player migration, psychology, transitions, and coaching, along with national and international experts in football research.
Current members of the research group are Laura Finnegan, Jean McArdle, Darren Murray, Emma Saunders, Tom O’Connor, Stephen Finn, and Chris Thompson.
Future research areas for the WIT-based group include ecological approaches to talent development, youth development pathway analysis, migratory patterns within youth football, and the influence of place and date of birth on development.
Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies commented:
“It is great to see not just a new research group in WIT but one that focuses on such a unique area and that has the potential to give rise to very interesting research outputs and also open up new pathways for prospective postgraduates in the Institute.
“This research group is a great opportunity to further engage WIT with the fantastic soccer community that exists across the southeast. WIT has so much research, development, and knowledge to offer the soccer community and so much to learn from that community also.”
Lecturers in the Research Group teach across a number of different courses in WIT including BSc (Hons) in Exercise Sciences (Common Entry), BSc (Hons) in Sports Coaching & Performance, and the Bachelor of Business in Recreation & Sport Management courses.