young soccers

details of interview

Role of the Interviewed: Soccer coach

Age: 41

Gender: male

Nationality: Portuguese

Type of radicalization: social

Historical period collocation: 2016-2018

Date/Country of the Interview: 04/10/2018, Portugal

Interviewer: Rosto Solidário / Reply to Mapping Call

Rosto Solidário

Have you witnessed or experienced personal situations of radicalization during your activity in sport organizations? What kind of radicalizations have you detected? (Gender, politics, religion, racism, crime, homophobia…)


I’ve had an experience closer to radicalization that end it up been a lesson learnt to all team members. In my perspective the situation was related to social rivalries between social groups.
Telling your story. What has happened? How has the story started?
A group of players, led by a specific player, started to become violent towards other team players without a reason. During the practise that specific player yielded at others, calling them bad names and making fun of them every time they missed the ball or failed scoring, which led sometimes to physical confrontations.   The violent behaviour kept happening throughout the sport year and the coach at the time did nothing. Up to today I’m not sure about what trigger the violent episodes.
How did you realize what was going on? What kind of signals could you detect? How do you explain radicalization, referring to your experience?
At the time I was the assistant coach and wasn’t able to have a say in the way the coach deal with the situation. Moreover, my reading of the situation was that if nothing was done the violence could keep raising and eventually we could lose control of it. Nevertheless, I couldn’t question the coach before the team.
In my perspective radicalization has to do with losing control of a violent situation. In those cases, may times you don’t even get to know what are the triggers of such violence.
Have you tried to cope with this situation? What was possible to do? What have you done? Have you involved other people/organizations? Who was involved?
The sports year after this situation started I become the head coach and started to deal with the situation my way. So what I did – with the support of the club board members – reached out for the players who were keeping been violent to others and ask them to either change behaviour or to leave the team. Unfortunately nothing changed and the person leading the violent episodes was expelled. After that the violence within the team ended.
Did you feel you had the skills to manage this kind of situations? Which was the most difficult part of it? Have you had any form of support?
It was not easy to solve the situation because this kind of behaviour are kind of normalized over time. In additional to that, making a decision “against” it can be seen by other as very radical. Other challenge is to deal with family members when they do not understand the situation and eventually share the same violence triggers.
End of the story. How did the story end up? What have you learned from this personal experience? What would you say to people who are living similar situations?
In the end the team players were more close to each other. It looks like the person who was leading the violent situations has been trying to have a more positive behaviour. There’s the need to deal with kind of situations with determination so that it is not consider to be normal and ordinary and also not to be out of control.
Conclusions. Are there other relevant aspects related to (de)radicalization that you want to highlight?
It’s crucial to act immediately and stop radicalization from rising. In addition to that there’s the need from the right competences to manage this situation so that all feel justice and not as there if it were victims and/or heroes.
act immediately to stop radicalization