"We can compete and we can be equals": Female experiences of co-gendered soccer
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Despite many sports leagues for participants over the age of 18 being co-gendered, little research has explored how women experience co-gendered sport. Women are typically underrepresented in these leagues so it is important to understand what attracts them to the sport and their experiences of playing. The current study examined how women experience co-gendered soccer in a Region of Waterloo soccer league. Semi-structured conversational interviews with seven women, who participated in co-gendered soccer for more than one season, were conducted. The findings suggest that upon facing unfavourable stereotypes about women's athletic abilities, women who play co-gendered soccer felt the need to prove their skills to male teammates, thus changing the way they played and experienced soccer. Women also both resisted, by their confidence and skill, and reproduced, by their acceptance of male athletic superiority, dominant gender ideologies that frame co-gendered soccer. Therefore, although co-gendered soccer experiences are gendered and teammate interactions can reinforce dominant gender ideologies, the current research found that co-gendered soccer is also a space for women to resist and challenge what it means to be "feminine." Furthermore, this study suggests that there is need for organizational change based on how women experienced gendered rules and organizational structure in co-gendered leagues. Although co-gendered soccer is experienced positively by some women, there is much work to be done by players, captains, and sport organizations to decrease gendered constraints and create more positive sport experiences for all players.