Perceived inclusion in youth soccer teams: The role of societal status and perceived motivational goal climate

Nico W. Van Yperen*, Silke Dankers, Anne-Marie Elbe, Xavier Sanchez, Sabine Otten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives: Our aim was to investigate the link between youth soccer players’ perceptions of the coach-initiated motivational goal climate within their team and their perceptions of inclusion as a function of societal status. Societal status refers to one’s national background which numerically forms the majority or a minority in a particular society.

Design and methods: Survey data was collected among 245 male youth soccer players (M = 12.9 years, SD = 1.60), who all played in culturally diverse teams in the Netherlands. The societal status of 94 players (38.4%) was majority, and 151 players (61.6%) were classified as minority. To test our main hypothesis, perceived inclusion as the dependent variable was hierarchically regressed on coach-initiated mastery goal climate perceptions, per- formance goal climate perceptions, societal status, and their interactions.

Results: Overall, mastery goal perceptions and performance goal perceptions of intra-team competition were positively and negatively related, respectively, to perceived team inclusion. As hypothesized, only among players with a societal minority status, perceptions of inclusion were higher when mastery goal climate perceptions were higher and performance goal climate perceptions were lower.

Discussion and conclusion: Our findings suggest that a coach-initiated mastery-oriented team climate may enhance an inclusive soccer environment in culturally and nationally diverse teams. For societal minority players, intra- team competition should be de-emphasized by the coach in order to strengthen the experience of inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101882
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of sport and exercise
Early online date4-Jan-2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021


  • Achievement motivation
  • Intra-team competition
  • Diversity
  • Sport
  • Football

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