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1 AN EXAMINATION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ATHLETES TRAVELING TO THE U NITED STATES TO PLAY COLLEGE SPORT By CORNELL EDISON FOO A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLME NT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Cornell Edison Foo
3 To my family and those brave enough to undertake such a journey
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge my family and fri ends for their continuous support during my time at the University of Florida T hanks go out to my wife Michelle for her dual role as my most constructive critic and motivator. While painful at times this would not have be en possible without you Your comm itment towards excellence and unwavering stance against mediocrity were good attributes to surround myself with. To Yohan, Oliver and Noah; the reasons for undertaking and finishing such a daunting task the unconditional love and support shown to your dad was important to my success You certainly ensured I had full days during my studies at the U niversity of F lorida I am so proud to be in your lives. Finally to my parents, Joan and Wo l fston Foo and siblings Shalleyne and Kevin thank s go out to you for all of your unwavering support especially during my low points This is an accomplishment I willing ly share with all of you; a passage filled with many emotional and financial hardships that started more than a decade ago. Thanks go out to Dr s. Michael Sa gas, Catherin Emihovich, Yong Jae Ko, Trev or Bopp, and Daniel Connaughton for your continual support and mentorship. Your guidance and assistance over my time here at the University of Florida was certainly enjoyable and has helped mold me into an emerging scholar and educator, a role I fully embrace. Dr. Sagas, you provided a rar e occasion to learn and grow U nder your stewardship a chance and impartial opportunity to pursue a dream and line of research became achievable when no one else was interested.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 11 The Journey ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 11 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 13 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 15 Significance of Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 16 Dissertation Structure ................................ ................................ ............................. 17 2 CULTURAL INFLUENCES OF ISA ADJUSTMENT ................................ ................ 18 International Student Experience ................................ ................................ ............ 18 International Student Athlete Experience ................................ ................................ 19 Limitations of Previous Studies ................................ ................................ ............... 21 ................................ ................................ ...................... 21 The Purpose and View of Sport ................................ ................................ ........ 24 Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 27 Cross c ultural Adjustment ................................ ................................ ................ 29 New Research Areas ................................ ................................ .............................. 33 Sport Labor Migration ................................ ................................ ....................... 34 Mercenary ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 35 Settlers ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 35 Nomadic cosmopolitan ................................ ................................ ............... 35 Returnees ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 36 Exile and Expelled ................................ ................................ ..................... 36 Ambitionist ................................ ................................ ................................ 36 Pioneers ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 37 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 37
6 3 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 40 Qualitative Methodology ................................ ................................ ......................... 40 The Current Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 41 Th e Setting ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 43 Gaining Access ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 43 Participant Selection ................................ ................................ ............................... 44 Backgrou nd Information on Study Participants ................................ ....................... 4 5 Development of Interview Questions ................................ ................................ ...... 5 3 Data Collection and Analysis ................................ ................................ .................. 54 Coding ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 5 5 Validity and credibility ................................ ................................ ....................... 5 6 Researcher reflexivity ................................ ................................ ...................... 5 6 Member checking ................................ ................................ ............................. 5 6 Thick, rich description ................................ ................................ ....................... 5 7 Researcher Position ality ................................ ................................ ......................... 5 7 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................ 6 0 ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 61 Personal Development ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 1 Professional Soccer ................................ ................................ ......................... 65 Financial Concerns ................................ ................................ ........................... 6 8 ................................ .............................. 70 ................................ ................................ ................................ 7 4 ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 78 S ummary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 8 2 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 89 Implications for Research and Practice ................................ ................................ ... 95 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 96 Futu re Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 97 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................ ................................ .................... 1 00 B INFORMED CONSENT ................................ ................................ ........................ 1 01 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 103 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 11 1
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Participant Demographics ................................ ................................ .................. 59
8 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S IS International Student is a nonresident alien that is not a citi zen or national of the United States of America who entered the country for the purpose of attending an institution of higher education through the issuance of a visa and does not have the right to remain indefinitely ISA An international student athlete is a nonresident alien that is not a citizen or national of the United States of America who entered the country for the purpose of attending an institution of higher education and playing collegiate sport. This individual does not have the right to remai n indefinitely NAIA National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics : An Association with close to 300 member institutions and 60,000 student athletes NCAA National Collegiate Athletic Association: An unincorporated Association with more than 1,200 four year member institutions organizing athletic programs with over 400, 000 student athletes NJCAA National Junior College Athletic Association: An Association that was conceived in 1937 with the main purpose of fostering an environment to aid in the promoti on of junior college athletics on a national basis
9 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy AN EXAMINATION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ATHLETES TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES TO PLAY COLLEGE SPORT By Cornell Edison Foo August 2013 Chair: Michael Sagas Major: Health and Human Performance Described as the most dominant form of sport migration today, the l iterature appears to largely support the stance that there are a multitude of ad justment issues being faced by international student athletes (ISA) upon arriving in The United States From the expectations placed on them from coaches and teammates alike to the increased competitive nature of collegiate sports, International student athletes are exposed to a great number of stressors that may put them at a disadvantage and create an environment prone to failure. The purpose of this study is to assess the rea sons why international student athletes come to the US to play college sport, explore ISA recruitment as a form of sport migration, and reexamine the adjustment issues that seem to plague such journeys Through the use of semi structured interviews, 8 part icipants were interviewed on two separate occasions. With a phenomenological approach used to analyze collected data, the themes that emerged w ere exodus, a lack of established professional soccer networks success at home and role modeling. Combined, thes e factors provide
10 explanations on why male ISAs from Trinidad and Tobago would travel to the United States to play collegiate soccer
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Journey A review of the literature surrounding the journey of foreign students to American co lleges and universities paints a rather foreboding picture filled with indecision, financial concerns, interpersonal strife, and issues related to cultural adjustment (Bak er & Siryk, 1986; Bean, 1982). Schram and Lauver (1998) describe such a j ourney as with feelings of powerlessness, meaninglessness and social estrangement. As a subgroup of the international student body, similar arguments can be made regarding the recruitment and subsequent adjustment issues of International Student Athletes (ISA). Their journey similarly can be rather convoluted and difficult. Despite the context, ISAs are not immune to negative outcomes. In order to fully grasp and appreciate the insurmountable task faced by foreign student athletes, it is important to review some of the work that has been done in this area of research with brief captions about the authors that have brought these issues to the forefront. Noteworthy is the work of John Bale (1991). Bale has been one of the earliest researchers on ISAs making their journeys overseas. His niche however focused on motivational factors as determinants that influenced foreign travel. On the player side, those seeking to be actively recruited saw an opportunity to have access to elite coaching and training f acilities. Better facilities combined with the technical abilities of International athletes saw the American coaching system as progressive in nature and a plausible way to help them hone their pla ying abilities. Bale also argue that players view collegiate play as a way of getting increased playing exposure and see college athletics
12 as a stepping stone towards entry into the professional ranks. On the administrative side, coaches are usually under pressure to build a winning program as their jobs are almost always on the line. Recruiting foreign players is seen as a means to an end and by comparison, ISAs tend to display higher levels of confidence in their abilities (Bale. 1987; 1991) than their domestic counterparts. In the field of sport management, Ridinger and Pastore (2001) strong ly advocates for conducting more systematic research on the adjustment of international student athletes coming to the US. They believe that as a g roup, ISAs have a difficult journey ahead of them especially once they insert themselves into American sport culture. Individually and collectively, Ridinger and Pastore (2001) have lo oked at the recruitment of ISAs through the perceptions of coaches and a dministrators. This is important because ISAs are viewed differently depending on what division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) they are recruited for. In NCAA Division I, there appears to be some animosity towards ISAs, as exhibited from teammates, and parents alike, especially when it comes to competition for limited resources (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). Athletic scholarships, they seem to believe, should be kept exclusively for domestic student athletes. This brings with it, echoes of entitlement from domestic student athletes. The issue revolves around the fact that these ISAs are competing for scholarships or U.S. tax dollars that should be available for domestic students and this arrangement is becoming very difficult to defend. These actions according to Kennett (2002) are a form of social exclusionism which is explained as a multifaceted process involving an array of factors that affect specific groups at the margins of society. In this
13 case immigrants are the marginalized group and reasons are typically forthcoming about why ISAs should not be entitled to financial assistance. approach that seems to be so prevalent in collegiate competit ion. In NCAA Division I, economics are a big factor. Public colleges and universities are often pressured by board members, parents, and local players when it comes to the use of financial aid for the recruitment of foreign players. Thus, Ridinger and Past ore (2001) set out to try and understand the complexities involved with the recruitment aspect of international student athletes with special focus on the social aspect of cultural adjustments. These studies have proved to be valuable as administrators and coaches attempt to understand the intricate part of recruiting foreigners Statement of the Problem Described as the most prevalent form of sport migration today (Bartolacci, 2010; Yukelson, 2008), the number of international student athletes attending US colleges and universities have doubled within the last decade (DeHass, 2009). Sport migration involves political, cultural, geographical and economic pressures in which individuals in positions of power have a profound influence over the structuring of a migrants life in the new host culture (Maguire & Falcous, 2010). Here athletes from foreign countries go through a resettlement process for an array of reasons which may include, gaining access to better coaching and training facilities, working towards a degree and financial gain or for an opportunity for a better life. Accompanying these increased numbers, the literature appears to largely support the stance that there are a multitude of adjustment issues being faced by ISAs. From the expectations placed on them from coaches and teammates alike to the increased competitive nature of collegiate sports, international
14 student athletes are exposed to a great number of stressors that may put them at a disadvantage and create an environment prone to failure (Han ton, Fletcher, & Coughlan, 2005). However, despite the highlighted number of stressors, the enrollment numbers of foreign student athletes are still on the raise. While ISA recruitment has contributed to the globalization of sport, it has conversely create d an environment of & Falcous, 2010) where sport organizations including US institutions of higher education have placed a heavy emphasis on foreign talent. To compound this issue, the collective presence of international students on US college and university campuses may elicit some negative behaviors from faculty and even domestic students (Lee & Rice, 2007) making this a very difficult transition for the newcomers. Additionally, some faculty members and university admin istrators often see foreign students as subpar in terms of academic abilities when compared to locals (Lee & Rice, 2007). This belief is further compounded by reports of a power struggle within the boundaries of the classroom between international students and domestic students and made worse by the inability of faculty members to recognize these in a class room s etting (Hsieh, 2007). Similar arguments can be made for ISAs. Back in 1991, the US Track Coaches Association proposed a limit on the amount of fina ncial aid ISAs could receive thus reducing the numbers allowed for recruitment (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). They believed that having these individuals on teams was not beneficial to the expansion of sport locally or to the domestic colleg e athlete who they believed was being overshadowed by their foreign counterparts in terms of physical skill and playing opportunities. Nonetheless, this proposal was narrowly
15 defeated and coaches continued with their recruiting patterns despite the pressures to do otherwise More recently, the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) board of directors elected by a 30 21 margin to limit the participation of international student athletes to one curbing what was described as the recruitment of individuals with unclear amateur credentials (Wieberg, 2011). This according to Lapchick (2011) is a policy designed clearly around exclusion and against the popular and socially acceptable notion of incl may clearly depict the paradoxical nature of recruiting foreign student athletes. Therefore some clarity is sought as to the reasons why ISAs are travel ing to the US given the many barriers. Purpose of Study The purpose of this s tudy was to assess the reasons why international student athletes come to the US to play college sport. Proposed are different typologies in which an individual may fit into depending on their motivational aspirations (Magee & Sugdan, 2002 ; Maguire, 1999 ). Typologies suc h as Mercenaries, Settlers and R eturnees have now is can the journeys of a foreign student athlete s be considered sport migration and does this new moti vational drive have an y consequence on ISA adjustment? With cultural assimilation and acculturation frameworks at the forefront of most the studies focusing on international students in American higher education, are these cultural influences also applicab le to ISAs traveling to the US? John Bale (1991) claims that due to better coaching and training facilities, ISAs are highly motivated to travel overseas. Popp, Hums and Greenwell (2009) argue that ISAs see an opportunity to
16 receive an education with sport being the vessel. More recently, Trendafilova, Hardin, and Kim (2010) reported that ISAs generally speaking have higher levels of social satisfacti on with campus services offered and are highly motivated once they have arrived. In addition to the varied f indings, researchers using sport migration as a motivational explanation allude to a trend that foreign athletes may now be using collegiate sport as a form of internationalization ( McGovern 2002). All said some clarity is needed in the aforementioned are as. Significance of Study Since the 1950s international student athletes have been recruited by the coaches of American colleges and universities (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). Researchers have explored motivational reasons (Berry, 1999; Jones, Koo, Kim, Andr ew, & Hardin, 2008) and the cultural adjustment issues pertaining to such a sojourn (Ridinger & Pastore, 2000b). According to research findings, ISAs are reported as having difficulties adjusting to the American way of life but despite these reported negat ive issues, their enrollment numbers have doubled within the last decade (DeHass, 2009). Supporting this recent trend is the fact that ISAs are now reporting higher levels of satisfaction with the services provided on college campuses. In a recent study co nducted by Trendafilova et al. (2010), ISAs reported being satisfied with academic support services, their own personal wellbeing, medical services and what was interpreted as their ability to establish social networks. These findings clearly contradict ea rlier results regarding esteem due to cross cultural adjustment (Palthe, 2004) and the loneliness and homesickness associated with navigating within a new environment (Grinberg & G rinberg, 1989),
17 unfamiliarity with educational procedures and structures, and the perceived lack of social support and services (Lloyd, 2003). From an informed perspective however, studies involving foreign student athletes and their motivational reasons f or coming to the US may have evolved at best and a reason why identifying these factors are important. Considering the new findings from study on ISA satisfaction, one can see possible contradictions to previous findings. Thus, further exploration is warranted. Dissertation Structure This dissertation begins with a preamble of the issues at hand, and is followed by the research design, method data analysis, and results and discussion sections of the study. Chapter I provides a brief narrative about the study and an introduction of the group of interest international student athletes Chapter II is an in depth literature review with a foc us on the cultural influences associated with ISA travel. Chapter III introduces the procedures and goes on to explain the sport labor migration typologies that were tested the research design, sampling, methodological approach, and data analysis. Chapter IV report s the results and facilitate s the discussion phase of this study. The over all outcomes of this study were that the motivational reasons for ISAs traveling to the US colleges and universities have evolved beyond just gaining access to coaching and training and are in fact a viable avenue for migration. This may explain the increa sed enrollment of ISAs given the many issues highlighted in the literature. Chapter V concludes with an in depth discussion of the contribution of this dissertation to literature, implications for research and practice, limitations, and suggestions for fut ure research.
18 CHAPTER 2 CULTURAL INFLUENCES OF ISA ADJUSTMENT International Student Experience Rudenstine (1997) reports that international students bring added value to U.S. higher education in terms of culture, educational ability and economics. Student s traveling from other countries increase global awareness and perceptions which may result in higher levels of consciousness by the wider college student population when it comes to multiculturalism (Bevis, 2002; Harrison, 2002). Economically, internation al student enrollment on the whole is seen as beneficial to the American economy. With the current economic recession in full swing, the US saw the enrollment of foreign students into colleges and universities as a means of generating much needed revenue. In 2009, it is estimated that $18 billion dollars was generated and pumped into the education industry through the export of US tertiary level education (Chandler, 2010). Despite these benefits, Altbach (2004) makes the point that immigration regulation post 9/11 has become a major deterrent for international students and those who are able to endure this process towards securing student visas face another insurmountable task adjusting to a new host culture. Transitioning to a foreign country can be a ver y challenging experience for international students, particularly if they are unaccustomed to travelling abroad, according to Hayes and Lin (1994). This point is further supported by Yukelson and Carlson (1996) who claim that for university freshmen especi ally, it is often commonplace for them to express feelings of homesickness and loneliness. Getting acquainted with a new environment and adapting to a new education structure only seems to exacerbate the feelings of isolation these students experience. Dif ferences in language, food, climate, mannerisms and communication can all
19 perceived discrimination especially from faculty members (Beoku Betts, 2004), a threat to cultur al identity, a feeling of inferior status, and self hatred and guilt can all be attributed to the onset of culture shock (Sandhu & Asrabadi, 1994). On the other hand, the experiences of international students cannot all be negative according to Pritchard a nd Skinner (2002). Their view is that international students ultimately adjust to the host culture, by developing a high inter cultural awareness, but the literature overwhelmingly refutes this claim. International Student Athlete Experience International students without athletic aspirations travel to the US for an opportunity to experience the western way of life, and their motivational drive for the most part is due to academic pursuits. For international student athletes, their motivational reasons may be more about bettering their playing abilities and com peting and less about academics. Regardless, what is truly unique about this group is the high emphasis placed on the American collegiate system. Many countries do not have a college sport structure su ch as the one in America where sport is fused into academic life. This system is a big draw for many athletes and because of their advanced playing abilities they are able to attain athletic scholarships. That said, their passage into the US like many ot her international students is filled with obstacles and hardship s from the onset and is one reason why some may become discouraged from the beginning of their college career. While international student athletes experience many of the same adjustment iss ues, their obstacles and hardships extend beyond the normal issues to include pressures from athletic governing bodies. As early as the 1950s, organizations such as
20 the NCAA have attempted to limit the number of foreign student athletes being recruited by colleges and universities, citing the fact that differences in age with domestic athletes put the latter at a competitive disadvantage (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). The first law aimed at limiting the recruitment of ISAs was introduced in 1961 by the NCAA bu t was suspended by 1970 after a federal court ruled it violated the equal protection clause under the Fourteenth Amendment. This clause indicates that any person or persons (w ww.law.cornell.edu). Therefore, it is not about equality for all but equal application of the law. So ISAs who went through the necessary steps during the recruitment process are protected by equal protection clause under Fourteenth Amendment Currently, t here are only age restrictions at the NCAA Division I level with differences still prevalent in lower divisions. This rule states that an athlete who has participated in any organized sporting event after his or her twenty first birthday will have one year of their four year playing eligibility lost. This only applies to NCAA Division I institutions. These actions issues of navigating within a new host culture to living up to the expectations of coaches and teammates, they are exposed to a great number of additional stressors that can arise from the highly competitive nature of collegiate sport (Hanton, Fletcher, & Coughlan, 2005), rivalry for scarce financial resources, and skewed performance evaluations. These stressors are fueled by the perceptions being perpetuated regarding the presence of ISAs on respective teams. Coaches usually see ISA recruitment as a means of achieving job security (Asher, 1994) and as a way of impr oving their chances
21 of a winning season. These opportunities create a means to a positive end (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). Counter arguments on recruiting ISAs are made by Hoffer (1994) who claims it is counterproductive to bring foreign athletes to our ins titutions. Hoffer contends that the reality is that abundant resources (coaches, facilities, and money) are utilized towards bringing them [ISAs] here, and there is no return on this investment as some leave just after a single semester without an actual c ontribution. Other ISAs graduate from their respective institutions and return to their home countries without any added benefit to the host country (Hoffer, 1994). While ISAs experience some of the very same issues plaguing the wider international student body adjusting to a new culture, they are exposed to additional stressors that are associated within the collegiate sporting context. Coaches tend to have an overall positive perception of foreign recruits (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001), and there are also hi gh expectations associated with these views. It was also reported that ISAs indicate lower levels of adjustment to their new environment in the areas of social adjustment and institutional attachment (Popp et al., 2010). Considering all the pertinent infor mation discussed thus far, it would not be difficult to make arguments against a system which seems designed for failure with ISAs absorbing the brunt of the fallout. Limitations of Previous Studies Ridinger and Pastore (2001) did a phenomenal job citing the many issues related to ISA recruitment in their article, Student Athletes. A stratified sample of 368 male and female coaches were solicited for this study from across NCAA Divisio ns I, II, and III and NJCAA with a total of 146 participants completing the survey. The questions used in the survey were generated
22 from an extensive literature review and validated with the assistance of an expert panel. Specific issues highlighted were: the age disparities between older, more experienced ISAs, and their younger, less experienced domestic student athlete counterparts with the latter usually overlooked by coaches. The matter of U.S tax dollars being spent on foreign talent and the movement of governing bodies and organizations to limit ISA enrollment were all listed as major concerns. Using quotes from a few coaches, the authors bui lt a strong a rgument in defense of the ISA. One argument came from Phil that U.S. kids are getting overlooked. To me basketball has become worldwide. I take it as a compliment that so many kids want to come to the US and play at the highest in Ridinger & Pastore). Ridinger and Pastore (2001) painted a picture of difference where despite the aggressive move by some influential groups to limit the number ISAs on US campuses, coaches continued their recruitment efforts, giving as their reasons the pressure to win and the need for job security. Overall, coaches had a positive perception of ISAs. With an emphasis on the managerial of recruiting this unique group of student athletes and the development of theoretical frameworks with the aim of advancing a greater understanding of the recruitment process. However, some of the mechanics of this study are questionable. First, while th e study was exploratory in nature, including head coaches of both men and women sports across NCAA Divisions I, II, and II and from the NJCAA, was too broad and a plausible explanation was not given for their selection. At the NCAA Division I level, the
23 en (Siegel, 2004) so coaches of male collegiate sport teams are reported to be under a greater amount of pressure to have winning seasons compared to Divisions II and III coaches. There are also differences in the structural platform where mission statements, organizational objectives and number of sports offered vary among NCAA divisions. NCAA Divisions I and II sports are driven by economics and institutions are allowed to offer f inancial aid to their student athletes (Siegel, 2004). At the Division III level, this is not the case. Entertainment is deemphasized and the offering of athletic scholarships is not permissible. Sport at this level is more about overall development rathe r than entertainment value and profit (Urban, 2000). Further, coaches on the NCAA level, especially Divisions I and II, may see ISAs in a different context compared to a coach within the NJCAA. Inclusion of all these categories can be misleading if not exp lained thoroughly and controlled for in the analysis. Second, Ridinger and Pastore (2001) developed a questionnaire they used to collect the needed data from their sample of interest. Using a four step process, questions were generated from the cited liter ature; items were validated by an expert panel that included eight coaches, four sport management faculty, and two graduate students with coaching experience, and the instrument was tested prior to use. The final instrument included two components, perce ptions and background information. Background information included demographics, years coaching, division and sport affiliation etc. perceptions, four constructs were developed; recruiting issues, ISA issues, attitude issues and adjustment i ssues. One limitation is that there are no theoretical underpinnings to the significance of these constructs or how they
24 relate to the purpose of the study. What is needed was a deeper explanation of the significance of ISA issues, attitude issues, and adj ustment issues. The recruiting issues were well documented in prior sections. A discussion of these items would have connected all the important parts of this study. Based on multivariate analyses, the results were reported in great detail and in the discu ssion section they did a good job summarizing the pertinent information. However, the interpretations presented seemed irrelevant and misleading. For example, the fact that reporting NCAA coac hes rated ISA issues higher than NJCAA coaches seems obvious fro m an economic standpoint. Due to the entertainment between these levels will differ. Siegel (2004) spoke about the entertainment value of Division I athletics and the grand amount of resources utilized. This will not be the case on the junior levels. A better comparison may have been within the same divisions ISAs and those without. Lookin g at coaches who aggressively recruit foreign student a study is conducted across divisions, and across governing bodies, all variables such as entertainment value, f inancial resource, missions etc. will need to be highlighted and accounted for in the analysis, which was not the case in this article. The Purpose and View of Sport In another article, Popp, Hums, and Greenwell (2009) explored perceptional differences by comparing ISAs and domestic student purpose and view of (1989) Purpose of Sport Questionnaire and had both ISAs and domestic college student
25 athletes take the surv ey. A total of 174 ISAs and 110 domestic student athletes took the survey for a response rate of 44.7 percent. Using a cluster sampling method athletes were recruited with the assistance of a third party organization called Champs/Life Skills Coordinator s who work closely with student athletes. The goal of this organization is to help student athletes with their academic, athletic and personal sport policies, high lighted some unique characteristic s of the ISA group and then explained the purpose of sport participation concept. Under national sport policy, Popp et al (2009) spoke about the importance of individuals having opportunities to participate in sporting act ivities and linked it to political legislation as the avenue for fostering national pride and effecting change on the US may be lagging behind when it comes to sport d evelopment This may be due to the fact that in the US, exposure to organized sports occurs primarily at the school level while in many other countries, there are usually progressive club based systems in place with the overall goal of sport development (B rennan & Bleakley, 1997; Chalip, Johnson, & Stachura, 1996; Rubingh & Broeke, 1998). Considering these difference s the expectation is that ISAs would differ in their view and purpose of sport. Stidwell (1984) reported that from a study examining motivatio nal differences in perceived athletic confidence between ISAs and domestic student athletes, ISAs displayed higher levels of self confidence in their ability to succeed. Popp (2006) in turn argued that ISAs attributed higher importance towards academic ac hievement and deemphasized mental preparation and competition.
26 Therefore, the arguments cited by Popp et al. (2009) add legitimacy to the purpose of this study. In an examination of motivational characteristics of task oriented and ego oriented athletes, Duda (1989) found that those who displayed task oriented characteristics were more likely to have a view and purpose of sport that allowed for the development of positive attributes like teamwork, good health and success oriented. On the ego oriented side, sport is strictly viewed in terms of a way to compete, to advance participation in sport would entail; (a) mastery/cooperation, (b) physically active lifestyle, (c) good cit izen, (d) competitiveness, (e) high status career, (f) enhanced self esteem, With regard to the methodological approa ch, the populations sampled are clearly identified; domestic college student athletes and international college student athletes in the east, Midwest and western regions. This sample is consistent with the limited number of international student athletes e nrolled at colleges and universities. As a result, the researchers implemented a cluster sampling technique due to the scarcity of this population. They also listed this as a limitation due to numbers and geographic location. T he narrow scope of this study in terms of geographic considerations limited the generalizability of the findings. Of the 464 international students identified, only 117 completed the survey which is approximately 25 % of the identified accessible sample. The use of a third party organ ization called Champ/Life Skills to recruit both groups may have hindered the effectiveness of the selection process and this was highlighted as a limitation at the conclusion of the study. Also, data were collected from ISAs from 49
27 different countries an d across 18 different sporting disciplines. One of the sporting relevance. The findings and conclusions presented failed to convince me as a reader as some of the j ustifications presented seemed like broad generalizations. For example, one finding was that regardless of country of origin, student athletes on the whole rated consideratio n given to gender age, race, or whether a country was classified as third world or industrialized within their explanation. Nonetheless, the topic and purpose of the study in addition to the works cited and framework used are all applicable from a researc h standpoint in my opinion. Areas for future research include correcting how the participants were recruited, accounting for a wider array of variability, limiting the number of sporting disciplines and nations and finally, limiting the o verly broad genera lizations. Satisfaction In the article titled, Satisfaction Among International Student Athlete Who Participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Trendafilova et al. (2010) explored the concept of satisfaction among ISAs attending NCAA Divi sion I institutions. According to Edwards, Bell, Arthur, and Decuir (2008), satisfaction is a main factor when assessing job performance and productivity, and Trendafilova et al. (2010) spent considerable time discussing the different areas in which the co ncept of satisfaction has been applied. Areas such as human resource management, consumer behavior, and organizational behavior have been traditional avenues for satisfaction research. Only recently has this line of inquiry entered the arena of sport manag ement but more on the
28 managerial side. The purpose of this study was to answer the following questions; what is the level of satisf action of international student athletes participating in the NCAA? And does the level of satisfaction differ based on selec ted demographic variables? but lies instead in the introduction, literature review and theoretical orientation. Primarily, Trendafilova et al. (2010) proceed with an assum ption that the reader knows what satisfaction is and what constitutes it. There were no fundamental presentations or attempts to define what satisfaction is. This concept has been used in multiple research areas but what are the components, or characterist ics of satisfaction? Is it informed by life experiences, decision making, and memory? To find that ISAs are satisfied with the services provided on US college and university campuses is informative but what are the components being used to support this con clusion? According to Giese and Cote (2000), there is a lack of definitional consensus on what constitutes satisfaction. This is all the more reason why Trendafilova et al. (2010) should have spent a bit more time introducing and explaining this concept. There are three major commonalties that exist on what satisfaction is; it is a response that can experiences or expectations, and last, it occurs at a specific ti me (Giese & Cote, 2000). Hence, the concept of satisfaction across many differing fields is made up of three common components, a response, focus, and time. If Trendafilova et al. (2010) were to explain the possible theoretical orientations of such an imp ortant and relevant concept, they would strengthened the conceptual underpinnings of their findings
29 The authors described their data collecting procedure clearly. ISAs were sought from athletic directories from NCAA Division I institutions in six conferenc es. The instrument, Athlete Satisfaction Questionnaire (ASQ) (Riemer & Chelladurai, 1998) was used to capture ISA satisfaction while at college with the use of 56 items which were grouped into 15 dimensions. Each dimension introduced was explained. Data an alyses including descriptive statistics, one way analysis of variance, Mann Whitney U and Kruskal Wallis tests were used and indicated overall, ISA are satisfied with academic support, personal treatment, team social contribution, and medical support. Thes e findings were supported by references from literature on human resource management and organizational behavior. The authors did a great job providing possible explanations on reasons why there was overall satisfaction amongst the ISA body. The authors a lso highlighted the implications of the study. Trendafilova et al. (2010) did discuss the benefits of coaches and administrator having this information. Areas that may have been done differently would be the literature review and theoretical orientation s ections. Using a theoretical framework derived from research on human resource management and organizational behavior would have strengthened this article. Cross c ultural Adjustment With regard to ISA adjustment, the article Cross c ultural Adjustments and International Collegiate Athletes by Popp, Love, Kim, and Hums (2010) sought to test a theoretical model proposed by Ridinger and Pastore (2000a) to measure international student athlete adjustment to college. Popp et al. (2010) wanted to investigate whet her the antecedents proposed in the adjustment models were good indicators of successful adjustment and to see if there were any other factors that may be worth considering.
30 Not only was the purpose of this study clearly stated, the authors did an excellen t job summarizing prior literature involving ISAs and their journeys to US colleges and universities with special mention of motivational reasons and differences of school environments as important factors. Given the significance of the study was to test and explained each component of this model and its application to this study. The rationale persuaded readers that this project was indeed feasible and worthy of being conducted. Using semi struc tured interviews, data were collected from 13 ISAs from four public NCAA Division I institutions. These 13 ISAs consisted of both males and females from several different countries and across a variety of sporting disciplines. Interviews lasted from 30 60 minutes. A constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) and thematic analyses were conducted ( V an Manen, 1990) From the data analysis all three additional anteced ents emerged; a sense of adventure, previous international travel and family influence. While these findings could contribute to the existing literature, several concerns need to be noted. First, the grouping of males and females in this qualitative stud y and the combination of a variety of sporting disciplines and countries are both problematic. Males and females have always had different experiences in the sporting context and similar arguments can be made even for male and female ISAs. These gender dif ferences were not controlled for or addressed by the authors. Females have different anteceding factors (interpersonal, personal, perceptual, cultural distance) that influence their experiences compared to their male counterparts, and as a result, their ad justment
31 levels (academic, social, athletic, institutional, personal emotional) will vary. For example, in a recent study by Sturm, Feltz and Gilson (2011) they found that female student athletes have a greater commitment to their academic roles and a weak er approach to their athletic roles. Males on the other hand identified more with their athletic roles and less with their academic roles and a plausible reason why males and females may have different experiences that influence their adjustment levels. Th is study should have sampled ei ther all males or all females. The second issue has to do with the variations involving countries of origin and sport. If the purpose is to test the adjustment model then the country of origin should be held constant. For ex ample, an ISA from the Congo will have a different experience adjusting to American culture compared to someone from England, Serbia or Spain. Language is repeatedly reported as a major barrier when adjusting to a new host culture especially when English is a second language. This factor will certainly account for differing experiences. With English being the most used language within America those speaking Serbian or Spanish compared to someone coming from England may have difficulty communicating with o thers which makes navigating within the new host environment all the more difficult. Additional ly the currency exchange may be a barrier as well. The official currency of the Republic of Congo is the Congolese Franc (CDF) and for every $1 U.S. dollar (USD ) spent is the equivalent of 915.969 CDF. For the United Kingdom, the currency exchange rate with the USD is 0.618276 GBP (greenwichmeantime.com). So the GBP is stronger than the CDF which means that someone traveling from the Congo will have to spend more of their own money when traveling to the US. Such
32 experiences. Therefore, concluding that all antecedents in the proposed model were confirmed and there were three additional antecedents to emerge can b e misleading. Other than the common element of playing collegiate sport in America, all other anteceding elements may be drastically different. Validating this model can be as simple as selecting a specific country or region. Using multiple countries and n ot considering the many variables that arise from cultural differences can be problematic. Despite these criticisms, the findings confirmed the feasibility of the antecedents The authors proceeded to explain the application of these new elements and their interpretations by tying it back to previously citied works in their introduction and literature review. While some of the information provided by this study may be useful mo ving forward, it is not without concern. First, the use of both genders is problematic. Research has shown that male and female college student athletes have different experiences adjusting to college life. A similar argument can be made for male and femal e ISAs. Second, the high level of variability that comes from using multiple nationalities all grouped into one discussion can be misleading from a language, and financial aspect. Third, the number of sporting disciplines used creates unrealistic scenario s. For example, the appeal for basketball may be greater than the appeal for volleyball on the international stage in the sense that there may be no viable outlets for playing volleyball beyond college as there is for basketball and this may be an influe ntial study that the current proposal will address in order to derive meaningful categories and inquiry. This proposal will utilize male soccer players all from one Car ibbean island. This
33 systematic approach to collecting and analyzing this data. New Research Areas The recruitment of international student athletes has been part of the Amer ican collegiate system since the early 1950s (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). In earlier studies the motivational reasons for ISAs traveling to the US w ere to gain access to better coaching and training facilities (Bale, 1991; Berry, 1999; Jones, Koo, Kim, Andr ew, & Hardin, 2008) and an opportunity to compete post secondary. In combination with these motivational reasons, numerous studies have documented the many adjustment issues being faced by ISAs once immersed into American culture. Noteworthy are Ridinger a nd Pastore (2001) who report that ISAs have a difficult journey ahead once they arrive in the US and Hanton, Fletcher, and Coughlan (2005) who commented on the many stressors ISAs face in the expectations of coaches and teammates all of which can potential ly impeded their ability to adjust. Conversely, Trendafilova et al. (2010) looked at satisfaction levels of ISAs participating in Division I of the NCAA. The results revealed that overall ISAs were satisfied with on campus services provided for academics, personal treatment, medical services, and the social ties formed by their interactions. These findings contradict earlier reports and may indicate a shift in the ability of ISAs to navigate and adjust to new surroundings. Hence, clarification is needed whe n it comes to motivational reasons and levels of satisfaction among ISA s In the global arena, sport has become one of the front runners under the idea of athletes to fore ign countries (McGovern, 2002). Bartolacci (2010) and Yukelson (2008)
34 make supporting claims by arguing that ISA recruitment is the most prevailing form of sport labor migration that exists today. Professional athletes travel across international borders m otivated by various reasons and this trend of internationalization according to Love and Kim (2011) has significant implicat ions towards collegiate sport. The gravity of such a process can be seen in college and university enrollment numbers where American colleges and universities housed over 690,923 international students at US institutions of higher education as of 2009 (Institute of Internal Education, 2010) and from these figures, close to 18,000 international student athletes competed across the Natio 10 school year (NCAA, 2011) and this is just the NCAA. If numbers from NAIA and NJCAA were included, the numbers will be much higher. ISA recruitment and its contribution to the i ncreased global appeal of sport may go beyond the boundaries of fielding a championship contender or increasing the cultural diversity of the student population. It provides a line of research that has caught the attention of social scientists exploring th e social and economic interests of collegiate sport and may now be a plausible form of migration for those with the ability to play on the American collegiate level. Sport Labor Migration Sport labor migration is a concept that investigates the movement of athletes across international lines in differing sporting contexts with the aim of trying to capture the motivational reasons behind such journeys in combination with desirable outcomes (Love & Kim, 2011). This line of research has led to the rise of se veral typologies that are used to identify and explain such movements. These typologies have been extended to explain student athletes coming from foreign countries as labor migration.
35 Proposed by Maguire (1999) and Magee and Sugdan (2002), it classifies athletes in one of the following areas; mercenaries, settlers, nomadic cosmopolitan, returnees, exile or expelled, ambitionist and pioneer depending on their desired outcomes. Mercenary Mercenaries are classified as individuals who travel for financial co nsiderations, such as professional athletes (Magee & Sugdan, 2002), or short term gains (Maguire, 1999). While ISAs do not receive any form of financial compensation directly from athletic associations, they are awarded athletic scholarships that fully and / or partially cover tuition, books and meals. This provides some benefit to student athletes some of whom may not be able to afford such a trip. This typology does have some relevance to ISAs due to financial aid being a desired outcome. Settlers Settle r is someone who has made a journey and stayed beyond the allotted time of four or five years (Magee and Sugdan, 2002). Maguire (1999) simplified this by defining the settling of sport migrants in the area in which they played. Under this category, the for eign student athlete traveled to the US, played and never returned to their home country. The category has special consideration since according to the NCAA; ISAs are not allowed to stay beyond their allotted time. Nomadic cosmopolitan The third typology is the nomadic cosmopolitan. Here student athletes want to experience American culture as seen on television (Magee and Sugdan, 2002) and tend one who wants to experience another culture. In this category, the foreign student athlete may be in a situation where there are few, if any, options to play beyond the high
36 school level, but who desires an opportunity to experience playing collegiate sports. Further, this typology s upports the notion of ISAs deemphasizing the competitive aspect of collegiate sport as reported by Popp et al. (2009). Returnees The returnee according to Maguire (1999) may experience characteristics associated with any of the p rior typologies explained above. The main differ ence from the aforementioned typ es is the desire to be on home soil Individuals falling under this category compared to others need to be in their native home country. This desire/attraction to return home can be due to an array of f actors such as adjustment issues, and financial hardships. Exile and Expelled Under this typology, someone categorized as an exile is one who leaves the home country for sport related, personal or political reasons. This move is usually voluntary but can b removed from their country of origin (Magee & Sugden, 2002). Ambitionist As the term implies, an ambitionist is one who is seen as someone with the desire to embark on a sporting c areer anywhere; one with a fondness of playing in a specific location compared to others; and/or one with the drive to work towards playing sport in a higher status league (Magee & Sugden, 2002). It should be noted that Maguire (2004) argues that there is no need to establish a separate category here and explains that the desire to play in a higher status league or the dream of playing in a specific location can already be explained by the preceding categories.
37 P ioneers Pioneers are described as those who s ee sport beyond its physical and developmental components and believe in the holistic nature of it (Maguire, 1999). Sport in a case such as this is used as a recruiting tool with the outcome to indoctrinat e players with beliefs norms and values of the con trolling group. Summary A review of the above literature underscores the issues surrounding ISAs and their journeys to American colleges and universities. Research in this area has focused primarily on the motivational reasons for such trips and the cultur al adjustment issues that arise due to being in a new host environment. Additional issues include the pressures ISAs face in living up to the expectations of coaches, administrators, and teammates. ISAs do face an insurmountable number of stressors (Hanton Fletcher, & Coughlan, 2005) that may impede their ability to adjust to a new host which is a common element found in many of the articles reviewed. At the same time, several other areas of concern still exist. The first concern is that very little attent ion, if any, has been given to economic factors such as the ability of an ISA to pay upfront fees associated with traveling to the U.S. ( visas, airline tickets) or the funds that are needed to support themselves beyond the monetary scholarships provided by their coaches and athletic departments. None of the prior studies addressed this important element. To argue the importance of the monetary consid eration, Altbach (2004) contends that insurmountable fees associated with foreigners attempting to travel to US colleges and universities become a deterrent for many. Significant fees are associated with obtaining student visas, air travel and in some cases tuition. Here the journey can end even before it really has an opportunity to
38 begin. For those who are abl e to make it beyond the first stage, a robust financial support base is essential for timely and effective adjustment. Second, studies involving ISAs in relation to spatial gateways have not been well covered. Spatial concentration has to do with the prede termined settlement decisions of individuals traveling to the US. The literature identifies areas such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco and Dallas as major gateways for incoming migrants. These patterns of residential choice are important bec ause many immigrants find solace in moving to areas where there are co nationals present (Alba & Nee, 2003). The importance of spatial gateways was not a consideration in the literature reviewed, but a focus on this variable may provide valuable informatio n for ISA research. Third, certain aspects of the research design employed by respective authors were problematic. More specifically, the decisions surrounding sampling techniques and participant selection were often questionable and not adequately explain ed. These problems can lead to misleading interpretations and findings. In all the studies previewed, researchers conducted their data collection and analysis without consideration for gender, country of origin, and sporting differences. For example, in th e article by Popp et al. (2010) Cross c ultural Adjustments and International Collegiate Athletes, the overall objective was to test the proposed antecedents from Ridinger and l. failed to control for ge nder, as both male and female ISA data are analyzed and reported together without being addressed. Males and females have always had differing experiences and this was a factor that needed to be controlled for. Further, those originating from the Congo and
39 traveling to the U.S would potentially have a vastly different experience than someone traveling from England. These issues were not addressed. The purpose of the current study was to explore the reasons why ISAs come to the US to play sport. A more meani ngful contribution to the literature is sought by building on the strengths and addressing some of the shortcomings of previously reviewed literature. Exploring economic and settlement patterns with reference to examining the validity of the sport migratio n typologies will constitute one direction for this study. Therefore the research questions that were answered at the conclusion of this study have to do with the reasons why ISAs travel to US colleges and universities, as well as some of the adjustment issues they face navigating their new host culture. Lastly, are ISAs using US college athletics as a form of migration? The next chapter will outline the methods to be used to derive these answers and will include a discussion of researcher positionality.
40 CHAPTER 3 METHOD In this study, semi structured interviews wer e used to explore the items of interest. This approach guided the interaction of the interviewer and interviewee by the use of a list of questions. T he participant s were asked to respond to sp ecific question s in a free manner and this allowed for more in depth responses (Bryman, 2004). These interviews were conducted over the telephone, audio recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Once transcribed, a phenomenological approach (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2 009) was employed to analyze the collected data which aids the researcher whe n interpreting given responses ( Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009) Qualitative Method ology The qualitative methodological approach allowed participant s the opportunity to respond freely to the question(s) presented. P henomenological inquiry brings to the front the true experiences of the participants involved with the goal of achieving a greater understanding, and insight to the purpose at hand (Crotty, 1998). While there is an ongoing deba te in regards to the validity of qualitative research, it stands on the premise that it is naturalistic due to the fact that data is gathered from participants engaging in natural behavior in their normal daily settings (Guba, 1978). The essence of this ap proach is not geared towards operationalizing variables but to formulate and investigate elements o r topics in all their complexity (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006). From an analytical viewpoint, data gathered from informants were analyzed inductively with the goal of making a theoretical contribution. The emphasis here is not to collect data to prove or disprove hypotheses but to explain behavior. The meanings sought from the emergent themes were how different people make sense of their lives.
41 This is what Erickson (1986) calls participant perspective. The focus then is on the assumptions that people make about their respective lives and what elements are more useful than others. Eight p articipants were i nterviewed once during a first round of interviews and six fro m the same group were interviewed a second time. I nterview s were designed to last approximately 30 minutes long but ranged from twenty two to forty seven minutes The first interview was used to gather pertinent data and allow ed for the identification of t hemes and areas for exploration The second interview gave time for elaboration and clarification of chosen themes and was purposeful in addressing validity and trustworthiness of the data Discussion points were sought from the theoretical underpinnings f ound in the literature on immigrant studies and the educational literature concerning international student adjustments. In regards to cultural influences on ISA adjustment, studies pertaining to assimilation and acculturation economics ( e.g. participa e.g. location of choice), language and the friendship patterns of ISAs may hold important information that can be used to under stand their adjustment process. Checks for clarity were achieved by having two doctoral st udents review the proposed questi ons under each construct. These assistants were international students themselves enrolled in a sport management program at an institution in the southeast US. The Current Study The interest into why international student athletes travel to the US to play college sport is important because of its practical implications in the issues of sport labor mi gration and the cultural adjustment process associated with it. In the field of social
42 science, economic s spatial concentra tion and language have all been commonly used measures to capture the process of immigrant assimilation (Waters & Jimenez, 2005) and are believed to be significant T he formation of social ties wi th locals and co nationals has been explained as a coping mechanism by international students towards adjusting to a new host culture and has been used periodically since the 1970s (Kashima & Loh, 2006). However, these are the influences that have rarely b een explored in prior bodies of research regarding ISAs Additionally, the methodological approach and research design initiated in the past were problematic in the sense that decisions surrounding sampling procedures and participant selection were often n ot adequately explained or comprehensive in nature Consideration for gender, country of origin, economics and sporting differences were not accounted for. Accordingly, t he design of this study address ed such key concern s by controlling some of the varia bility that comes with studying ISAs in sport played, country of origin, gender, and sport governing body affiliation. Further, p national origin is socially constructed This brings t o the forefront an acknowledgement of geographic dissimilarities where validation comes from cultural differences or differences in national identity rather than physical characteristics alone. Here the dominant group seeks to perpetuate their cultural ide ologies over the newcomers as a means of mainta ining their status quo ( Balibar, 1992 ; Barker, 1981; Hervik, 2004 ; Spears, 1999). These issues bound by the motivational reason for undertaking such a journey or sport migration may be all applicable in expl oring and researching the social phenomena of cultural adjustment for these foreigners. The expected outcomes would
43 be confirmation that the motivational reasons for ISAs undertaking such a journey go beyond just access to better coaching and training faci lities. The driving force then can be a greater need for more opportunities and a better standard of living T hat is, foreign student athletes may be seeing US college enrollment and participation in collegiate sport as a viable pipeline for migration. The refore, there may be a deeper connection between educational pursuits and the notion of sport migration. The Setting This study was initiated with the use of the social media platform Face Book and data were collected via Skype. I nterviews were recorded wi th the use of a Skype recorder application The ISAs recruited represented various colleges and universities across multiple states within the continental US. This method of interaction was not only an effective means of staying connected with these partic ipants but wa s very cost effective as well. The main reason for selecting this unique population has to do with my familiarity with the international recruitment process and my own experiences as a former ISA. While there is a strong argument in relation t the basic premise here is to make a meaningful contribution to this line of research A s econd reason is that ISAs motivational reasons for traveling to the US may have evolved a t best T his study provides a n opportunity to capture these changes and compare the findings to that of previous results and contribute meaningfully to this line of inquiry. Gaining Access Researching this unique group of student athletes always presents a challenge due to geographic consideratio ns. Initial contact was attempted when recruitment emails were sent to the head coaches of men college soccer teams with information
44 found on their athletic websites. C oaches did not respond to these emails. When the preliminary method did not provide the expected results, access was gained through emails sent via th e social media platform of Faceb ook. This method proved successful. Also, the ability to establish good rapport with the participants was tied to the fact that the participants and I are all na tive to the country of Trinidad and Tobago. This is important because it helps ( Bogdan & Biklen 2006) is This allowed them to speak in normal terms and lead to a high level of meaningful interaction s Given this context and my familiarity with the recruitment process, these participants felt at ease discussing their motivational reasons, challenges, and e xperiences traveling to the US. Participant Selection The participants chosen for this study had to meet severa l requirements prior to being recruited and taking part in this study. These individuals had to be: 1). citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, 2) identify as male, 3) play soccer, 4) currently enrolled in college, and 4) representing a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics member institution. These outlined criteria assisted in controlling some of variability present with researching groups f rom differing national origins. In sum, eight male international student athletes agreed to participate in t his study. listed the names of soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago and the US institutions they were represent ing Research on each institution revealed the collegiate g overning body each school was affiliated with. Participant ages ranged from eighteen to twenty five years. There were three college seniors, four were sophomores and there was one freshman. With information gathered from the i nterviews family type can be
45 characterized as middle income nuclear families There was one exception; one participant grew up in a single parent family household. Participants all played multiple sports growing and only decided to concentrate on soccer upon entering high school. The ir player development occurred within some of the more established and high profile high schools in Trinidad and Tobago. Half of these participants also represented their country in soccer on the youth nationa l level. These individuals were recruited on a voluntary basis and interviews were conducted until responses become repetitive, which are indicative that a point of saturation has been reached (Bryman, 2004). T able 1 provides detailed information about player demographics. Back g round Information on Stu dy Participants Collin Collin is a twenty two year old male from Trinidad and Tobago who is in his senior year at college in the south western part of the US. Collin grew up in a small town in the north eastern part of Trinidad Arima He lived with both his parents and an older brother while in Trinidad His father work s in law enforcement with the local government and his mother in human resource management with a private company Collin spoke very fondly of both parents and indicated that the y were very supportive of his decision to pursue his soccer aspir ations and education in the US although they initially had hoped that his undergraduate studies would have been completed close to home. He seemed to recognize that travelling to the US would have provided additional opportunities and exposure that he may not have benefited from had he remained in Trinidad for his tertiary education. Collin described life growing up in Trinidad and Tobago good. His interest in soccer dates back to his early childhood, with him recalling
46 memories of playing beginning around five years old. As he grew older, he spen t considerable time bettering his skills and knowledge of the game of soccer Upon entering high school, he reported that he made a decision that in his words He convincingly persuaded his parents to allow him to attend a local high school that were more recognized for their soccer p rowess rather than academic accomplishments. He talked about pursuing this opt ion because of his desire to develop his playing abilities hope s of playing professionally abroad Collin was one semester away from graduating with his undergraduate degree in Business at the time of this interview. Joe Joe a twenty four yea r old college senior, currently resides in Texas. This young man from the north spoke passionately about his experiences journeying to the US to attend college and compete in collegiate athletics Joe descr ibed the relationship he has with his family as Close knit and even boasts about his parents being strict disciplinarian s while growing up His mother i s a police officer and his father is a carpenter. Joe indicated that he was br ought up with the belief that education and hard work were necessities for success and that his parents stood firmly behind him as he pursued his dream to travel abroad for soccer and college. When asked about his experiences growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, Joe was overwhelm ingly positive. Joe has one older sister, and he reports that his extended family was very active in his general upbringing. He describes becoming i mmersed in the game of soccer during his high school years so much so that his parents use d his
47 desire to c ompete with his high school team as a bargaining tool and motivator to boost his academic p erformance. main desirable outcome was to play professionally abroad He indicated that traveling to the US was not necessarily about the academic benefit or education that he would obtain, but rather it was a viable option given that he was unable to transition directly into a foreign professional under seventeen (U 17) and under twenty (U 20) national soccer team s, he was of the opinion that this initial exposure better equipped him to achieve this objective. This, however, was not the case and upon further consideration, he realized that the American collegiate system was an additional means of drawing closer to his goal. As a h ighly driven individual, Joe firmly believes that he can still make a move to the professional ranks and he appears prepared to work towards that goal. Joe was in his l ast semester of college at the time of this interview and reported no firm leads regarding a professional soccer contract although he remains optimistic about future prospects. Philip Philip, a twenty three year old young man from the north western part of Trinidad grew up in an environment where both his parents were educators (high school teachers). Philip has two brothers and both of his siblings also participated in soccer. His older sibling graduated with an undergraduate degree in Journalism from an institution in New York City, and at the time of this interview was in South Africa level at a university in Ohio.
48 Philip began playing soccer at an early age. His p assion for sport also drew him to things that were important to him and the needed support from his family was readily available. Philip was able to benefit from the traditional values and norms associated with academics and sport through the secondary school institutions he attended back home. He attributes his desire and ability to explore the world due to the training and exposure he received in high school. Philip like many of the other participants in this study has a desire to pursue a professional soccer career. Being one semester fr om graduation, Philip remains optimistic and confident even though he is unlikely to be recruited by a professional undergraduate degree was important to him because his parents always emphasized this. He was determined to make the best of a rare opportunity which, was to play soccer beyond high school while simultaneously working towards a college degree. Ross Ross, a light hearted, confident and jovial, nineteen year old from the smaller sister island of Tobago, was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago youth national team at the tender age of thirteen. He has previously traveled internationally representing his country in international soccer competitions. He is currently a member of the Trinidad 20) soccer squad. His beginnings are a bit different than that of the other participants in this group. Ross spent some of his earlier years in Tobago and initially attended elementary school there. Due to his
49 responsibilities with the national soccer program however, he ended up moving to the works as a ch ef and his dad is a real estate agent. He began playing soccer around the interview Ross voiced strong opinions and sometimes criticisms about soccer at home in Trinidad and Tobago and about sport development in these islands. He appears to be of the opinion that many of the social and economic problems that Trinidad and Tobago Even thoug h a considerable amount of his childhood time was spent away from his parents, he spoke highly of them and indicates that they always wanted what was as only having a fl eeting interest in the game of soccer, but spoke proudly of an uncle Trinidad were described as difficult at times because as a young individual, Ross said there were n ot many opportunities. This he said was his motivation to do something different. He did not like the prospects that were available at home and even turned down the opportunity to play professional soccer in a domestic league citing a lack of financial inc entive/compensation. Ross is of the opinion that getting an undergraduate degree is a meaningful investment in his future. At the time of this interview, Ross was a college sophomore at an institution in the south western US. Mark A twenty three year old sophomore grew up in the north eastern part of Trinidad Arima and lived in a nuclear family household with both his parents and an older sister. He spoke humbly of his experiences growing up in Trinidad and has mixed
50 feelings about life in his na tive country. He attributes his success to his God given talents and like many from this pool has aspirations of playing soccer professionally abroad Mark started to play soccer at an early a ge and progressed through the ranks of academy to the likes of c lub and high school soccer. He is an accomplished high school soccer player who has earned prestigious accolades during his time in Trinidad and Tobago secondary soccer competitions. Prior to moving to the US, Mark played in one of the youth amateur developmental leagues and was offered a professional contract to play on the home front out of high school. Following advice from his father, he forewent this opportunity in favor of accepting an athletic scholarship to the US. Hi s motivation for playing in the US was tied to his overall personal development. This was buttressed by the continued support of his family and the fact of knowing that whatever he wanted to do, the emotional and financial means was only a conversation awa y. There was also a realization in his mind that there are too few opportunities for graduates coming out of high school in Trinidad and playing soccer gave him an a chance to make something more of himself. Like many of these participants, Mark ha d an o ptimistic view about his chance s to play professionally abroad. He believes however that currently he should focus on working towards his undergraduate degree and improving his playing abilities. He is of the opinion that earning a degree is a major accom plishment even if playing Ben Ben appeared a bit more guarded during his interview and this required a bit more
51 age, he is in hi s second year of college. Ben comes from a close knit family with both parents and four older sisters all growing up in the same household. He reported that to keep him close to home. For Ben, being in the right place to be recruited took some navigating. Unlike some of the others who were sought directly by coaches/recruiters, scholarship hundred. Life for Ben in Trinidad and Tobago was very similar to the other participants in from ho me however, including carrying some of the financial burden of receiving a college education in a foreign country, speaks to his character and maturity despite his youth. His desire to play professional soccer drives him and he is comfortable with the real ization that he may have to do most of the ground work on his own. He spoke about waiting on that opportunity to play on the next level but sees his undergraduate education as equally important. Richard Richard grew up in the southern part of Trinidad kno attended a high school that is well known for both academic and sporting prowess. He is twenty three years old and started playing soccer at a very early age. He indicated that throughout his years, his father has been his main moti vator. Richard indicated that his life growing up in Trinidad was a mixture of positive and financial wellbeing in the near future was an important consideration as his fa mily has
52 had a generous share of economic hardships and challenges in the past. Richard did not mention what the occupations of his parents were during the course of the interview. When asked about his recruitment experience, Richard mentioned that he larg ely initiated contact with coaches in the US. This was achieved via multiple emails and he also included a recorded video of his playing performance, hoping that this would serve as an extra enticement to potential collegiate coaches and recruiters. Finan cial offered a full scholarship, having to show evidence of financial support that went beyond his scholarship was a challenge. At the time of this interview, Richard wa s preparing for his junior year of college at an institution in the Southern US. Steven Th e lone freshman of the group is an eighteen year old that hails from the central part of Trinidad Chaguanas. Steven is a member of a single parent family h ome and lives with his dad. Even though is mother resides elsewhere, he says they have a very close relationship. He has a younger half brother and sister who live with his mother. Despite his split family household, Steven described his life growing up as enjoyable. an opportunity to trave l to different countries to compete. Steven indicated that he has ha d a certain level of autonomy in deciding whi ch direction his life would go, k nowing that h is parents would be support ive of his decisions. His climb to the national team and then on to the US collegiate platform mirrors that of the other participants: success at the high school level and then a transition to participate in collegi ate sport in the US. Despite his success on the local front however, Steven was not able to obtain a full scholarship to a US institution, as was done by the
53 other study participants. He attributes this in part to his inability to produce a v ideo of himsel f playing /competing in a soccer competition to send to potential coaches/recruiters. At the time of t his interview, Steve n had made major inroads and was a starter on his respective college soccer team as a freshman. This he believed would go in his favor towards attaining a full sch olarship for his sophomore year. Development of Interview Questions Interview questions were generated from the literature where family dwelling, income and the educational levels of parents have traditional application towards assimilation model (Massy, 1985) was used to explain that foreigners are drawn to areas that are highly concentrated with those from similar cultural backgrounds. Immigrants see this as a practical support system to aid in their adjustment. In terms of language ability the argument is that there is a strong positive relationship between the (Beans & Stevens, 2003). Being able to communicate effectively is a sign of full assimilation (Zea, Asner self & Birman, 2003). A list of actual interview questi ons can be found in Appendix A. Participants were asked to describe their family background and about their experiences growing up in their native Trinidad and Tobago. These questions were used as a means of finding out what type of support was important in order for them to be successful. Discussions on parental expectations, the motivational reaso ns for traveling to the US, their experiences in regards to the recruitment process and criteria used in selecting an institution made up the majority of the discussions. Communication and adjustme nt rounded up these interviews.
54 Data Collection and Analysi s According to Merrium (1998) q ualitative research is an umbrella term used to classify several research methods aimed at collecting and analyzing data. These approaches share certain characteristics such as the interest in context and process, and the de sire to derive meaning from human behavior where there are no preconceived expectations. They proceed under theoretical assumptions that meaning and process are crucial for understanding human behavior and that desc riptive data is what is needed in order to make this happen Researchers on the whole should be flexible in their approach to data collection (Janesick, 1994). A total of eight participants were interviewed during the initial round of questions. With preliminary themes identified, only six parti cipants from the same group were interviewed a second time due to arriving at a point of saturation (Bryman, 2004). The first series of interviews were used to gather pertinent data which allowed for the identification of themes and areas for exploration. The second interview gave time for elaboration and clarification of chosen themes and served as an opportunity for member checking. Discussion points were sought from the theoretical underpinnings found in the literature on immigrant studies and the educat ional literature concerning international student adjustments. In reg ards to cultural influences on ISA adjustment, studies pertaining to assimilation and acculturation, socio economic status ( e.g., parents), spatial concentration ( e.g., loc ation of choice), language and the friendship patterns of ISAs may hold important information that can be used to under stand their adjustment process. The data gathered w ere analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Kvale and Brinkmann (2009) describe d t his method as an attempt to capture rich descriptions of
55 to the life in America This approach aided in the interpretation and understanding of meanings for given responses. Data analysis using a ph enomenological method requires fi ve main steps: 1) each interview was reread and a sense of the whole was gathered, 2) themes were conveyed from the text, 3) themes were explained in simple terms. 4) In depth meanings were considered as they pertained to the study at hand, 5) non redundan t themes were brought together to formulate descriptive statements. The phenomenological tradition of analyzing interview data was effective wh en interviews are semi structured or unstructured and almost conversation like It captures real world ex perience s from the interviewees as they feel at easy within this type of setting. A pseudo name was assigned to each individual in ord er to maintain confidentiality. Coding Bogdan and Biklen (2006) defines coding as a process that involves searching through the c ollected text for regularities and patterns framed by the purpose of the study with word and phrases used to communicate these topics and patterns. These words are coding categories. While this process is categorized as subjective in nature, through a fami ly of combined approaches; 1) definition of situation codes and 2) perspectives held by participants, these were helpful in sorting the desc riptive data (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006). The first was used to capture how participants would define their own roles wi thin their respective settings and the second was used to capture that meanings and perceptions attributed to these settings. Listening to the audio recordings and scrutinizing the collected text several times both collectively and individually assisted in recognizing consistent words and patterns
56 that were communicated by the players. From t hese words came coding categories and this provided a means of sorting the text into a meaningful narration Validity and trustworthiness Validity in essence explai ns h ow participants accurately recount the realities of the social phenomena being explored (Schwandt, 1997). This call ed for strategies with the aim of establishing credibility and trustworthiness for this study. The validity and trustworthiness of this study relied not o n the data itself but the inferences drawn from it (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). The validity and procedures used in this study will now be mentioned. Researcher reflexivity Disclosing values, personal beliefs and biases was important to info rm readers how my own experiences will may shape this inquiry. This approach according to Creswell and Miller (2000) is necessary because it will allow readers to grasp and ead in context as they proceed through the text. Member checking Described as one of the most used methods in qualitative research for establishing credibility (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) member checking involves taking the interpretation and deciphered themes back to the participants for confirm ation. This process ensures the accuracy, viability, and trustworthiness of the information being presented. In the current study, each theme w as presented to individual participants In addition, their own correspondin g quotes were used to support each theme. Participants were asked if the themes used clearly communicated their motivational reasons for traveling to the
57 US. Each theme was subsequently veri fied and endorsed by all participants They indicated that each it em applied to them with sufficient evidence to support each. Thick, rich description A third procedure used to address validity and trustworthiness has to do with the use of thick, rich descriptions. A ccording to Denzin (1989) these are deep detailed acc ounts of the setting, the participants, and the themes being presented. The goal is to provide as m uch detai le d information as possible. This involved describing interactions and experiences. With these explanations, readers should be able t o attribute meanings to communicated themes and interpret the significance of what is being presented Researcher Positionality Like all of my participants, I was driven by the chance to play post secondary football (soccer) S ince there were no meaningfu l options to play football after high school in Trinidad and Tobago traveling to an American college or university seemed like an excellent idea. However, the steps necessary to get to the point of college admission was convoluted and complex from the ons et and having to navigate a new host environment athletically and academically on my own only exacerbated this issue. With thoughts and attempts to leave within the first few weeks of my arrival in the US, my perceptions regarding such a journey are mixed despite playing for four years and graduating from college My own experiences as a former ISA bring a strong bias towards a process I believe is designed for failure. Even though the outcomes are possible and fruitful, getting to that point can be an emo tional and financial rollercoaster. LeCompte (1987)
58 this in mind, one should remember that the objective in this case is not to render judgment about this journey but to bring added value and knowledge to a degree it leads to the development of theory, and a greater understanding of this social pheno menon (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006). Bogdan and Biklen (2006) went on to say that any analysis undertaken with a prejudicial len s can delegitimize a study and be labeled as superficial by readers. Therefore, my approach will be one of reflection, and the mindfulness of how my own experiences would influence the study at hand and use it to my advantage. To address my own bias a very open minded approach to data collection and analysis was needed. One thing that is paramount is the issue of time. It has been more than fourteen years since I graduated from my undergraduate institution so things have certainly changed. Remembering to ke ep this in context was important so as to avoid asking leading questions or imposing certain points of view on my participants. Second, my goal was to collect as much information as possible during the interview sessions and making detailed notes during th e analysis so I can purposefully make informed categorizations.
59 Table 3 1 Participant Demographics Participant Name Age Classification Collin 22 Senior Joe 24 Senior Philip 2 3 Senior Ross 19 Sophomore Mark 22 Sophomore Ben 2 2 Sophomore Richard 2 3 Sophomore Steven 18 Freshman
60 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The phenomenological tradition of analyzing interview data captures real world like experien and this approach I believe was instrumental to this study. The purpose of this study was to first assess the reasons why international student athletes come to the US to play college sport. S econd to reexamine some of the adjustment issues they face navigating a new host culture and lastly to see if college athletics is being used as a form of migration. Through a phenomenological approach to colle c ting and contextualizing da ta, audio recordings were replayed and text reviewed several times as a means of identifying regularities and patterns as communicated by the participants. A number of different typologies were proposed in to which an individual may fit depending on their m otivational aspirations (Maguire, 1999; Magee & Sugdan, 2002). An examination of the collected data revealed that the experiences of this group of ISAs were atypical when compared to the reported experiences of the foreign student athletes and the wider in ternational student population in prior bodies of literature. While the sample size was small it allowed for the gathering of a deeper understanding and explanation o f reasons why ISAs would make such journeys. Common themes discerned through my in depth p erusal of text data and notes were exodus, a lack of established professional soccer networks success at home and role modeling Specifically the desire to leave was perpetuated first by the need for personal development, and a desire to play professiona l soccer abroad. Second, the lack of established professional soccer networks with leagues overseas limited their ability to transition to the next level. Additionally, individual successes enjoyed on the home front
61 and through the patterns of players that have traveled before were all motivators Combined, these factors provide explanations on why male ISAs from Trinidad and Tobago would travel to the United States to play collegiate soccer, and help identify what some of the issues they fac e navigating th eir new host culture and whether college athletics is being used as a form of migration. Each theme is discussed in detail in the following sections. Exodus Exodus emerged as the most prominent theme from the data collected. Defined as (http://www.merriam webster.com), this term was fitting because it allowed for the interpretation of an increased number of people which in this case are male soccer players leaving their home country and traveling abroad. Throughout the study all participants expressed a strong and overwhelming desire to leave home and travel of male soccer players leavi ng Trinidad and Tobago and traveling to the US has certainly increased. Perpetuating this exodus was the need for overall personal development and a desire to play professional soccer abroad. However, finances were a constraint to these two prior factors a journey. Together these three factors help explain the theme exodus. Personal development For these eight players, being recruited by a collegiate coach in the US was seen as a legitimate avenue and means for personal development. They strongly believed that a greater opportunity for a better life and higher standard of living awaited them in America. This was something they said was not achievable on the same scale at home.
62 Bale (1991) reports that ISAs tr avel abroad to gain access to better coaching and training facilities. While these all appear to be valid, for these participants in this study however, it went beyond these initial findings. They all appeared genuinely concerned about their future prospec ts and in their minds they believed that leaving their native personal development was possibl e in his native Trinidad and Tobago he responded, The desire of a migrant Otrachshenko and Popova (2012) lies with whether indiv iduals interpret their life experience the more likely they are to stay. The opposite holds true. If the gains from leaving or migrating is perceived as better than staying i 2005), then the individual is more likely to leave. These eight male soccer players were therefore of the belief that the net gains of traveling to the US far outweighed the benefits of staying in their native Trinidad and feeling about his desire for personal development was shared when he stated To be honest it was all about watching my older peers and I saw there was a way to advance your education as well as your style of play in soccer and also adapt to being away from your family. I wanted to further my education and get a degree too. I wanted to come here and grow and move on so at the end I would have my degree. After high school I just wanted to start my journey. A concern that seemed to resonate w ith this group was the limited number of opportunities available to high school students after graduation. Ross claims that with tertiary level education being free in Trinidad and Tobago, there is a greater amount of
63 people competing for fewer employment opportunities. To compound this issue he says, those who are already employed are staying on even longer in their respective positions and not retiring when they are suppose to. Ross concludes his thoughts on this issue by saying, That is the main factor US but it is so big that you have a better chance of getting a job there. For Mark, his line of reasoning was very similar. He echoed, One of the major reasons for coming over to the US is because of the opportunities. After secondary school [in Trinidad] you have [few] options: stay and play professionally back home (but things were really bad with the league and with people (both teams and players) dropping out due to the money crisis, [or] you can go to the universities like UWI (University of the West Indies), UTT (University of Trinidad and Tobago), and COSTAATT (College of Science Technology, Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago) or whatever but I mean you going to those schools, your football lif e is going nowhere. For Joe, his drive for personal development was intertwined with not only being able to play soccer but being able to help provide for his family. Joe stated, My family is important, my mom, dad, sister, nephew and girlfriend. I just w ant to be able to take care of them. This [journey] could build a life for myself and [put me] in a position to help others because some have helped me along the way. My motivation is basically my family. Collin had a more critical outlook when it came to personal development. For him, looking at the choices some of the players who graduated high school ahead of him made assisted him in putting things in perspective. Collin said, If you think about those high school [soccer] stars at that point of time who stayed in Trinidad to play in the pro league and did not get an education, those are the ones you see today still working today and not having much money that they deserved to earn compared to if they were on a scholarship. So for Collin, his need for pe rsonal development was driven by the realities and failures of other players in Trinidad and Tobago who made the choice of not furthering their
64 education beyond high school These were also the players who settled for playing in the domestic professional l eague. Their struggle was motivation for Colli n to strive for something more. Aside from the desire to play professional soccer abroad, Ross, Mark, Joe and Collin all saw greater opportunities for personal development in the US. These opportunities were b ased on their respective life experiences combined with interpretations and expectations of a series events that can unfold in the near future. Therefore, the net gains of traveling from Trinidad and Tobago to the US in their minds were perceived to be bet ter. This desire for bettering oneself finds support in Popp et collegiate athletes and ISAs. It was found that ISAs deemphasized the competitive aspect of college sport and a ttached themselves more to their academic roles while their domestic counterparts saw competition and good citizenship as highly important. Despite this, a shared characteristic was that regardless of national origin, student athletes indicated their exper iences with collegiate sport were important towards development expressed by these eight participants. For Ross and Mark, it was about having more opportunities after high school which according to them was clearly available in the US. For Joe, it was about being able to take care of his family. Collin saw the hardship associated with not furthering your education and pursuing a soccer career in his native country and d ecided he wanted more.
65 Professional soccer In regards to the desire of playing professional soccer, this journey to the US therefore was used as a stage of planning and preparation. In the United States there exists a rare opportunity to showcase tal ents and abilities while working towards a college degree. This journey was undertaken in anticipation of moving on to play professionally but in the event that that did not happen, having a college education and undergraduate degree would serve as their s afety net. This notion rang through with will have my education as motivational reason for traveling to the US. Being awarded an athletic scholarship and playing soccer at a US college or university was seen as a legitimate avenue of moving one step closer to playing o n the professional level. The overwhelming sense here was that this opportunity would likely be one of the very few chances, if any, to make this happen. Joe offered the following statement regarding his desire to play professional erm for American soccer): It may sound bad but my main desire was not to come here and get a [college] degree, but to come here and play ball and get ready to go to the it hel the end of the day, it is always about football. For Collin, part of his motivational reason to leave home and travel to the US was tied to soccer. He said, The main motivation wa s I really wanted to be a soccer player, play on the national team, and be a professional player but my parents always instilled in me to get an education, and this was my way of getting both things, playing soccer and getting an education.
66 Philip on the other hand had a more critical view and was not necessarily in favor of the American style of play but knew playing in the collegiate system will allow him to stay fit and develop his playing abilities. He stated, America is a stepping stone for me and n ot a concrete decision. I never wanted to come here and stay. I wanted to come here and grow and move on so at the end I would have my degree, my fitness and move on. I always had dreams and aspirations of playing soccer professionally. The place was never an issue. I want to play in Europe primarily because of the popularity Bartolacci (2010) and Yukelson (2008) argued that the increased number of ISAs recruited serves as the mo st prevalent form of sport labor migration and in these instances, this appeared to hold true. Therefore the overwhelming desire to leave Trinidad and Tobago was partially tied to a chance of playing professional soccer in the future. When asked to choose between an opportunity to play professional soccer on a contractual basis abroad, and a chance to work towards a college undergraduate degree if both were presented simultaneously, the contractual professional soccer opportunity was the preferred unanimous decision. Richard saw an undergraduate college degree as beneficial however; he was driven by some of his peers that went on to play in the pro ranks. He indicated, I would say [I am] self driven because of [where] I see myself in the near eing [that] some of my friends have had opportunities to play professional and semi professional soccer,[these] opportunities are available to you if you play your cards right. Richard is hopeful that an opportunity to play professional soccer is nearby an d did not hesitate to say he would have opted for a contract if it presented itself. Bale (1991) reports that ISAs use the US collegiate system as a launching platform into the professional ranks and this finding was confirmed in this study. Additionally however, it appears that these actions are aligned with the Mercenary
67 typology explained by Magee and Sugdan (2002) and Maguire (1991). Here individuals travel to foreign countries in search of long term financial stability, or short term gains. In this ca se, male soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago are motivated by the opportunity not only to get an education but as a means of moving closer to fulfilling a desire of playing professional soccer. Through their respective lens, this chance would eventual ly lead to a better life and a higher standard of living. The United States collegiate system provided the launching platform and opportunity for these players to put their talents and abilities on exhibition with the hope of achieving fame and fortune. Ad ditionally, having three seniors in this group provides an opportunity to see what outcomes can potentially materialize given the motivational need of personal development. When questioned about this, these seniors were happy that graduation was around the to fruition. What was clear was that at this junction, these players were going through a resettle ment phase where they were reassessing their current status and desired outcomes. The stage of when this reassessment period was initiated could not be clearly assessed, but it seemed to have occurred within the last two years. Collin surmised: When I get out of college I would be 23 years old. Yes I love the game and if I had the opportunity to play professionally I would. I am just thinking about it more realistically because as you get older you gain other passions. Yes when I left Trinidad it was my des ire to be the best football player and play for the national team, and become a professional footballer but as time changes you start to learn the value of an education and what you can do so ccer/football is always there but I am thinking about it more realistic in the sense of the limited number of players that get an opportunity to go on professionally. There is a higher chance of me not going professionally that
68 there is of me going profess ionally. I would say there is about a 20% chance of me getting that opportunity to play professionally. Joe likewise was driven to play soccer on the next level. He was the only senior of the three that had an opportunity to showcase his talents and abilit ies in two major league soccer combines (professional tryouts). Unfortunately, he did not make the final cut. Joe stated: Well at the end of the day and even though I may not go professional there is life after soccer. There are a lot of things that I cou ld do and [there are] a lot of people that have impacted my life. Having a degree allows me to do other things like coaching. Coaching is something I always wanted to do and I have always been interested in it. Even though things appear to not have gone ex actly as planned for these players, a return to Trinidad and Tobago was not a high priority for these players. They appear to be adhering to the settlement typology proposed by Maguire (1999) and Magee and Sugdan (2002) that were introduced earlier. In es sence, it seems that there are fewer meaningful opportunities at home in their native country, and the motivation to return is diminished. Collin believed that this issue was as a result of poor leadership. Collin indicated, I would say that they do not re Financial concerns Social and psychological factors have been shown to be influential in prompting migration (Layard, 2005) conversely, Stark and Yitzhaki (1988) report th at economics may be more of a consideration when an individual decides on whether or not to migrate. Therefore despite the drive for personal development and a desire to play professionally abroad, the ability of an ISA to travel to the US is contingent up on the
69 such a trip abroad (airfare, visa fees etc.) Also, the ability to maintain the continuous monetary support needed beyond the awarded scholarship is equally impo rtant. Economics therefore was a major factor in whether this international travel was even a possibility. Steven provided testimony which highlights some of the complexities involved in securing the necessary funds to finance the travel: I was not offered a full scholarship so my father had to come up with the [additional] money, so we went to the ministry [of education] but unfortunately we were unable to get any money from them but he [father] om the ministry, or from scholarship, it may be a little tougher so he [father] may have to get a loan. These players were quite aware of the financial burden that came with going to school in the US. Ben was on a full athletic scholarship but yet he still had to work two part time jobs in between practices, to make ends meet. This would have likely been a challenge for any student athlete to maintain. This example especially highlights the importance of a player being able to capitalize on the opportunity to study abroad and play collegiate sport. Adding to the financial stress of this situation is the currency conversion rate of the US dollar to the Trinidad and Tobago dollar. The exchange ratio fluctuat es daily due to the floatation of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar by the government in the April of 1993 ( http://www.trinidadexpress.com ) but most recently this has been in the vicinity of $1 US dollar to $6.41 i n Trinidad and Tobago currency. ( http://www.trinidadexpress.com ). Relating to this matter, Joe stated: of pocket especially coming from Trinidad. It was always a financial strain because of the conversion rate. There are always some fees that they do not include on your scholarship letter. Here Joe is explaining the task of navigating within his personal financial limitations.
70 These are s ome of the challenges reported by Altbach (2004), who went on to say Economics clearly, was a major determining factor as to whether a player would be able to travel to the US to take ability to finance some or all of the initial upfront costs that went beyond the parameters of US athletic collegiate scholarships factored significantly in these situations. The criteria used to make a selection on which institution to attend was therefore based heavily on the amount of scholarship money they would be awarded F actors such as the academic strength of the institution or geographic location appeared to factor less in the decision making. When asked about the criteria he used in deciding on an institution, Steven stated: too much of a burden on him [father] with the costs. Ben put it this way when asked if finances were the determining factor on institution selection: Yeah. This allowed me to be in a comfortable situation without putting a burned on my parents. When Richard was asked if there were any other factors considered when deciding on an institution, he responded: [It was] just the financial part of it for me. Becoming a professional athlete is one that is shared on a global stage by many young sport enthusiasts but the reality is that only a few will ever realize this dream. The eight ISAs that participated in this study all had aspirations of playing soccer internationally/professionally. The issue here however, is they viewed their chances of
71 accomplishing this feat as farfetched whilst re siding in their native Trinidad and Tobago, because of the lack of established avenues or access to international professional soccer leagues. They argue that the oversight by foreign coaches and leagues is being perpetuated by a lack of sport development in their home country. Ridinger and Pastore (2001) reported in their cultural adjustment study of ISAs American college and university coaches. This likewise, may be the same for college bound players from Trinidad and Tobago. The networks required to play in a professional league abroad however are not readily available to players wanting these contracts. Therefore these players are being forced to select the next bes t alternative, which in their minds, is to travel to the US to play college sport. This frustration was expressed when Joe stated The opportunity is not there for guys to go professionally especially out of something else can work out after that. While there is a local professional soccer league in Trinidad and Tobago that has been in existence for over a d ecade now, participants do not see this league as a viable option to establishing a pro soccer career. Steven indicated that this problem starts at the grassroots level, with the local clubs. He said, The basic [local] clubs do not see it fit to spend mon ey on their youth [players] and expose them to other countries like teams would do in other regions comfortably. They would also not allow their players to go overseas and play against other countries. Our clubs would not do that and I think they need that type of exposure[the player] and proper broadcasting of the player like making videos for them so others out there could see the talent that we have here.
72 In fact, many expressed no definite desire to play at home in Trinidad and Tobago. They all strongl y believed that there is a greater opportunity to be seen by a foreign based professional team once they were in the US. When asked to elaborate on the reasons why there are possibly a limited number of viable opportunities to pro fessional soccer teams in foreign countries, one reason they indicated was that sport development in Trinidad and Tobago was not progressing at an acceptable pace. In their eyes a chance of being noticed by international recruiters whilst at home in their native country would likel y not manifest itself. When asked about sport development in Trinidad and Tobago, Collin explained: To be honest, I do not think sport in Trinidad is progressing at all. I think it is more in decline right now. If you think about since the 2006 World Cup, we have not qualified for any major tournaments. Look at the increased number of players coming away on scholarship compared to about five years ago. Five years ago there were 3 4 players from the East Zone [in Trinidad] coming away on scholarship; back t hen that would be a lot. Now there would be 7 8 players out of the East Zone [in Trinidad] and probably 12 players from the North [zone in Trinidad] going on scholarships. These ISAs saw limited post secondary opportunities at home in Trinidad and Tobago a nd they did not see viable options when it came to developing their talents and playing abilities locally. Sport in Trinidad is not fused into everyday life as it is in the US on the tertiary level, so pursuing an education and representing your institutio n was not a possibility Therefore, the strong and overwhelming desire to leave home and travel abroad to play college soccer in the US is also being fueled by the limited number options available to these players post secondar il y. I mean to come out here hoping someone sees you; to play professionally Joe c ommunicated a similar sentiment,
73 I think the organization in Trinidad could be a little better but to be honest it is poor, I feel the leve l of progression is much slower in Trinidad compared to the US where it is more organized and professional. Ross however had a different take on the whole issue of lack of professional soccer networks. He believes that there are no established networks bec ause the coaches of professional soccer teams abroad have a negative perception regarding male soccer players in Trinidad and Tobago. He indicates, When you look at the senior team and [the fact that] we are not producing say why should I take a player from here; that is not producing? The senior team is not producing. The ratio of making it from Trinidad is lower than making it from going to school. Richard makes the argument that the overall level of soccer in Trinidad an d Tobago needs to change. He states The standard of soccer in Trinidad needs to improve and a reason why I wanted to leave and play at a higher level. Another issue was the income because you cannot really play soccer and making a living playing soccer in Trinidad. It starts with the [soccer] federation and the need to implement more things in the community especially with football. Comments such as these illustrate the complexities of a desire to play professional soccer abroad while living in a third worl d country such as Trinidad and Tobago. Players are highly motivated to use their talents and playing abilities as vehicles in search of athletic scholarships to the US. Propelled by the slow progression of sport development in their homeland, and a limited number of opportunities to sharpen their skills at home, these participants were motivated to seek opportunities for a better life and higher standards of living in a foreign country. The US provides an acceptable platform for this. The irony in this is however, players from Trinidad and Tobago in the past have as the English Premiership and the Scottish Premiership Leagues so it has been done
74 previously. Despite the suc cesses of players that have gone ahead and the fact that Trinidad and Tobago were able to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, the lack of professional soccer networks still exist With their ability to compete for financial assistance, players from Trinidad an d Tobago now have a viable opportunity to work towards their goal of playing professionally. Success at Home For this group, sport continues to be a major pillar within their respective lives. Competing and doing well on an individual and collective bas is with their teams (high school, club and country) has meant success in multiple realms and this resulted in feelings of high self identification and high status within their sport. Their successes on the home front in sport helped propel and motivate the se players when it came to deciding whether or not to travel to the US to participate in collegiate athletics. Six of the players in this study were instrumental in initiating and navigating the recruitment process themselves. They were responsible for get ting in touch with their respective soccer coaches in the US and as well as promoting and selling their individual talents. The remaining two were recruited via regional soccer tournaments and were offered scholarships as a result. The self belief that the y could easily and successfully transition from high school academics and sports to college academics and sports cou ld be attributed to the successes they enjoyed or acquired while at home. Success in this case refers to the reputation, fame and stature th ey accomplished on the home front. A coach [soccer] came down [from the US] because he was looking at one of my friends. I was introduced to him and told him a little about myself. From there we really hit it off. He did not really get a chance to see me play, everything went smooth from there.
75 The success Joe was able to accomplish individually on the home front wa s enough to get a strong recommendation from his high school coach. This combined with the athletic reputation of his high school; Joe was able to receive a scholarship offer to attend college in the US. Collin served as captain of his local high school te am and under his leadership; his titles, in 2007 and 2009. He had earned local national acclaim for his high school soccer S to participate in collegiate soccer therefore was largely tied to this fame that he had experienced. He reported that When prompted to elaborate, Collin stated: At the end of the season, my school won the Intercol championship and I was the team captain so that really boosted my resume and that helped me put my name out there. I sent them [college coaches and recruiters] pictures and videos of me scoring and that made them consider me and pursue me [Therefore] in terms of the recruiting process, I started the conversation but because of my [local] achievements, they [coaches and recruiters] started pursuing me even more, and started calling me once a week to make sure I was [gathering] and getting together all my documents. Mark, another Trinidad and Tobago local high school soccer standout, like other participants interviewed in this study, had a very successful soccer high school career. Mark had earned sundry accolades and championships during hi s secondary school career, these included: three East Zone Intercol titles, one East Zone league title, one received an offer to compete in the local professional soccer league in Trinidad and Tobago. He declined this opportunity at home in favor of playing college soccer in the United States. He felt
76 wards an undergraduate degree and still have an opportunity at playing professionally abroad in the future. In capturing his experiences during the recruitment process, Mark detailed the following: Well from back home in 2009 we won like 4 or 5 titles and it was my last year at high school. I won player of the year that year, so from that I [managed to] get a number of offers. collegiate athletics appeared to have a l ot to do with the fact that he was not only well accomplished in his sport locally, but had also earned name recognition and local fame. Tobago had fostered an environment o f success, and this in itself became a mechanism that helped motivate them to travel to the US. From the interviews, it became clear that they all strongly believed that their individual successes on the field with the sport locally in Trinidad and Tobago, playing for their respective high schools, and for some playing on the national level, prepared them for an easy transition into the American collegiate athletics system. When asked why he believed he could transition into college sport and be successful, Ross attributed some of his confidence and success to his experiences with the youth national team. Ross stated, I was playing was playing with the national team [and] was offered a ride [scholarship] to some school but I told them I was in form four [e leventh grade] and I did not have any Caribbean Examination Council passes [high school diploma] These examples are supported by a body of research that indicates that ISAs typically display an advanced understanding of their games and play on a higher lev el than their domestic US counterparts. This point may have to do with the fact that athletically speaking, foreign student athletes are more advanced because of the
77 progressive club based systems present in their countries (Brennan & Bleakley, 1997; Chali p, Johnson, & Stachura, 1996; Rubingh & Broeke, 1998). This allows them to transition into the collegiate level of sport without any major athletic obstacles. The may also be reasons why ISAs are now reporting higher levels of satisfaction with campus services (Trendafilova et al., 2010). In prior studies related to this topic, it was stated that ISAs reported experiencing issues adjusting to their new host culture. Describe with feelings of powerlessness, meaninglessness and social estrangement (Schram and Lauver, 1998), ISAs would exist in isolation. However, this was not the case with these eight players interviewed in this study. The participants all spoke highly of their respective coaches, domestic teammates and instructors. The fact most of the ISAs all had some level of local acclaim and success prior to journeying to the US appeared to have played a role in this adjustment. As Ph ilip related: When I first came adjusting to school was really not difficult because being on a soccer team gives you a large group of guys that are willing to help you transition. Some players seemed aware of my prior successes and were glad to have me on board. The guys have been great and willing to help. The professors likewise were great and I did not have any trouble with the people in school. I have had great experiences so far with teachers, coaches and they all have been very helpful in my career s o far. In a study examining motivational differences in perceived athletic confidence between ISAs and domestic student athletes, Stidwell (1984) reported that ISAs displayed higher levels of self confidence in their ability to succeed. Successes at home a nd local fame levels of success as players in their home country. This combined with the strong desire
78 to succeed on the professional circuit, translated to self confi dence which likely helped with adjusting to US collegiate athletics. The challenges, as described by the ISAs, had more to do with physical attributes like the weather and prevailing climatic conditions. These ISAs did not see navigating a new educational structure or interaction with instructors as problematic. Collin summarized this viewpoint with the following: I have always been adventurous, always wanted to see new places, meet new people and new players, and be introduced to a different style of play; love doing those things! Role Modeling Having seen some of my friends play professional soccer [abroad] and living their dream, made me want to do the same. As a soccer player, you always want to live your dream. This was how Joe described one of his m otivational reasons behind journeying to the US to play college soccer. Joe indicated that prior to high school; the chance of securing an athletic scholarship to play college sport in the US was quite difficult. This was apparently due to the information regarding navigating this informal process not being readily available. Joe stated: Once I got there [to high school] and I saw and spoke to other guys who were on scholarships that I saw that it was a good chance [opportunity]. My [local] coach and the p layers that went before me were certainly push factors. It appears that among high school soccer players in Trinidad and Tobago, there is an increasing interest in securing athletic scholarships to attend US colleges and universities post secondary. As mor e and more high school athletes successfully navigate this journey on their own, they appear to be paving the way and creating a model for others that are similarly inclined. Ross believes that this navigation requires a combined effort of which players th at have gone on before fulfill. Collin explained that
79 his discussions about obtaining an athletic scholarship began during his drive for a national championship: I was actually trying to get a scholarship and saw a couple of players who were in upper six th and putting their names out there so I followed their pattern. The encouragement by friends or having firsthand knowledge of other players that had journeyed before them, created exciting expectatio ns among the would be followers. Some of my friends would talk about these good stories traveling to games 5 hours away and playing against other schools and about the [free] gear they would receive [w hile on the team]. Philip indicated: known thing for student athletes and soccer players mostly to get scholarships. Sometimes the skillful players would not be able to obtain scholarships becau se of grades, but with my friends it was common for a guy to go do his SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Test] and get a scholarship. I knew it was possible because I saw my peers do it. With the high school coaches in Trinidad and Tobago now encouraging their pla yers to sit for the SAT exam and apply for entry into college institutions in the US, it communicates a new trend and greater awareness by players looking to play soccer post secondary. The SAT examination is now even offered in a couple locations around t he country at varying times of the year. This is evidence of progress regarding the opportunities for tertiary level education in the US for local high school students. Local soccer players appear to be benefiting from this development. DeHass (2009) indic ates that the number of ISAs enrolling in US institutions of higher learning have doubled within the last decade. This seems to hold true for college bound soccer players
80 originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Joe confirmed that these types of conversations were commonplace among his friends and local teammates. Joe stated: Yeah, we definitely discussed this and everyone was motivated to go on scholarship because they saw it as an opportunity not only to get an education but an opportunity to play profession ally after college and improve your game or just take that next step. Upon further discussions, it was also discovered that traveling to the US to play college sport was also tied to those who not only wanted better opportunities but also for those who had the right attitude and approach to the opportunity. When Collin was asked to elaborate on this distinction, he explained: I would say playing ability and attitude on a whole played an important role on who wanted to go away on scholarships or not. Like th ere were some players who were good enough to get a scholarship but who did not have the [right] attitude and did not want the do the kind of hard work required in taking the SATs.. There is certainly a pattern of action that has unfolded in Trinidad and T obago when it comes to high school soccer players and the available options to playing post secondary sports. Fueled by success stories, the encouragement of players that have gone before, and knowledgeable coaches, the journey of others has certainly lent itself as a motivational factor for players looking to broaden their horizons. Role modeling, however, seems to be selective in its process. Those wanting to capitalize on this opportunity appear to be limited by attitude, academic ability, individual mo tivation and resourcefulness. As Collin, put it: The opportunity is there, but it is not for everyone. Additional consideration needs to be given to the resources available to high school soccer players that are looking for opportunities; the internet is a major factor in this case. Social media outlets such as Face Book, and Twitter, as well as websites such as
81 interviewed in this study shared a common starting point for t heir journeys in that they all initially started their research on the aforementioned website. This website is a social site for the Trinidad and Tobago national soccer team news and events, and it also serves a dual role in that it highlights all soccer r elated local news surrounding Trinidad and Tobago. It is a source for information about players who have in fact successfully navigated the high school to US collegiate highway. Individuals can glean information about which colleges or universities local s econdary players have emigrated to. ISAs in this study related that from the information they found online whether from websites or they managed to initiate contact. St udy participants also indicated that they contacted other local players listed on college rosters that were from Trinidad and Tobago. When asked about his experiences with the recruitment process Steven stated: they connect you to teams that have Trinidadians players already. There were like three Trinidadians that left last year/this year for this one school I was interested in. I messaged him [the coach] and he told me the other Trinidadians are leaving [gradu ating] but there is one [player] that is going to stay and coach, as a graduate assistant. Like Steven, Richard sent out numerous emails to coaches, using the contact information he obtained online. He went a step further in that he was able to attach a vi deo of him playing to his messages. He said that this tactic enabled him to secure multiple offers. Being able to document your experience and skills with the game can go a long way in having coaches and recruiters become interested in having you on their team. Again, individual resourcefulness is a key factor here. The internet has allowed for a certain level of ease in recruitment process for both international students and
82 col towards competing for a scholarship and this helps create a platform for the theme of role modeling. Summary The opportunity to travel to the US for many from Trinid ad and Tobago can be considered a rather rare opportunity and it is no different for college bound athletes. The problem according to Altbach (2004) is perpetuated by a process that is both convoluted and uncertain. From the upfront fees associated with se curing visas to adjusting to a new host culture, ISAs usually have a difficult period ahead of them (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001). This study sought to expand our understanding of this journey under this line of research. It also addressed some of the limitat ions of previous studies and tested the sport labor migration typologies (Magee & Sugdan, 2002; Maguire, 1999) against this group of international athletes. perceptions of recr uiting international student athletes. They utilized a stratified sample of male and female coaches across NCAA Divisions I, II, and III and NJCAA and reported that coaches overall had a positive perception of recruiting ISAs. Popp et al. (2009) explored t he purpose and view of sport between ISAs and domestic college questionnaire, a total of 174 ISAs and 110 domestic student athletes took the survey and reported that ISAs deempha sized the competitive aspects of collegiate sport while domestic college student athletes ranked competition and good citizenship as important.
83 Collectively they saw their collegiate experiences as influential towards their career options. Trendafilova et al. (2010) researched satisfaction among ISAs and reported higher levels of satisfaction amongst this group. Even though the term satisfaction was not adequately defined in the context of sport, the results contributed to this line of inquiry. Popp et al. (2010) sought to test a theoretical model proposed by Ridinger and Pastore (2000a) to measure international student athlete adjustment to college. While the purpose and significance of the study were justified, there were some concerns regarding sample cho ice. Whilst these prior studies were significant within their own respective objectives, the one limitation that was common to all had to do with the fact that all the ISAs used in the respective studies were clustered together without consideration for n ational origin, gender, sport, and the governing bodies each school was affiliated with. Further, there was no consideration given to economics or spatial gateways. Variables such as these are important and were not accounted for in the aforementioned case s. To rectify this, eight male soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago who were currently enrolled in a US college or university and playing for a NAIA member institution were recruited for this study. Additionally, through a review of migration literature a list of questions was accumulated. The migration literature primarily looked at family background, and decision criteria used to decide on whether a person should travel abroad Economics was found to be an essential c onsideration. Spatial gateways wer decision on which college or university to attend was based strictly on the monetary value of the athletic scholarship they were awarded. Conversely, their ability to accept this award was contingent upon if they were able to afford the upf ront costs and
84 navigate the process surrounding their recruitment. These participants were able to accomplish these tasks. The term exodus was used to indicate a greater number of male soccer players traveling to the US on athletic scholarships. Perpetua ted by a need for personal development and a desire to play professional soccer, these players are using collegiate recruitment as an atypical but legitimate way to migrate. With a lack of opportunities post secondarily and the instability of the domestic professional soccer league in Trinidad and Tobago, these participants saw the US as holding future career prospects which in their minds will lead to a better way of life and higher standard of living. The increased numbers leaving Trinidad and Tobago is n ot only being perpetuated by personal desires. It is also being fueled by the willingness and overall positive perceptions co llegiate coaches have of ISAs. Ridinger and Pastore (2001) reported that the establishment of collegiate pipelines aided with the i ncrease number of ISAs being recruited and this seems to be the case. Further, Trendafilova et al. (2010) pointed out that ISA were now reporting higher levels of satisfaction with campus services. In the current study, the participants did not report any adjustment issues. In fact, they spoke highly of their respective coaches, teammate and instructors and advised that they were all welcoming and appreciative of the diversity they brought. Another motivational reason for traveling to the US to play collegi ate sport had to do with the lack of professional networks to foreign soccer leagues abroad. Players had a strong belief that their chances of being scouted by a foreign soccer team were slim if they stayed in their native country. There was also no desire to stay and play in the local professional league. They felt that in order to get closer to an opportunity to play on the
85 next level, playing college sport in the US was the best decision at that time. This motivational reason can be connected to one of t study regarding the purpose and view of sport between domestic college athletes and ISAs. While domestic college athletes ranked the seven dimensions higher than ISAs, they all saw their collegiate experiences as cruci al towards their career goals. This likewise was the case with these eight participants. They all were striving for something better and saw playing soccer in the US as an opportunity to be successful. Participants also enjoyed a significant amount of succ ess in their native Trinidad and Tobago playing for their respective high schools and club soccer teams. Half of these players also played on the youth level for the national team. The shared belief was they could make a seamless transition into the Americ an collegiate system and succeed. This was evident in their drive to compete for and obtain athletic scholarships to US colleges and universities over their American counterparts. Stidwell (1984) reported that ISAs typically displayed higher levels of self confidence in their ability to succeed. Popp (2006) in turn argued that ISAs attributed higher importance towards academic achievements. On the physical side though, ISAs typically were more advanced than domestic collegiate athletes in their understandin g of the game and their playing abilities. The reason attributed to this was the progressive club based systems that existed in many foreign countries (Brennan & Bleakley, 1997; Chalip, Johnson, & Stachura, 1996; Rubingh & Broeke, 1998). So the successes e njoyed on the home front was beneficial not only as a motivator but allowed these soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago to journey to the US and have minimal issues if any adjusting to their new host environment
86 The experiences of other male soccer pl ayers from Trinidad and Tobago that have traveled to other US colleges and universities ahead of the current group provides motivation for pursing such a journey. The theme of role modeling can be explained firstly by the purpose and view of sport (Popp et al., 2009) where these participants see college soccer in the US as their vehicle towards something better. Secondly, the fact that college coaches have an overall positive attitude of ISAs (Ridinger & Pastore, 2001) leads to increased recruitment numbers These two points can be easily communicated to players with a desire to travel to the US. With higher levels of satisfaction (Trendafilova et al., 2010), players already abroad are more likely to encourage those with a desire to play college sport and as sist with the recruitment of fellow ISAs. Role modeling therefore maps out a path for players with similar aspirations. Sport labor migration as the name implies describes the movement of athletes across international lines. These movements are for an arr ay of desirable outcomes and as such, Maguire (1999) and Magee and Sugdan (2002) have proposed several typologies in which an athlete can be classified into. The themes that have emerged in the current study helps expand our understanding of the typologies of mercenary, settler, and nomadic cosmopolitan. I agree with Maguire (1999) that the formation of the ambitionist typology by Magee and Sugdan (2002) creates an overlap and is addressed in other categories. These will now be discussed in detail. Based o n my analysis and understanding of the mercenary typology, the theme exodus aligns itself perfectly with this category. The athlete (mercenary) according to these authors travel to differing countries in search of monetary rewards (Magee &
87 Sugdan, 2002) or short term gains (Maguire, 1999). For these male soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago, the need for personal development and a desire to play professional soccer abroad can be related to these monetary and short term attractions highlighted by these au thors. Whilst they are not receiving monetary rewards directly, the value of the scholarships being awarded can be substantial over a four year period. Further, a journey to the US without an athletic scholarship would be almost impossible for any of these players. In this instance, a very strong argument can be made in regards to the similarities of the theme exodus and the mercenary typology. Through sport and with the financial assistance that comes with being awarded an athletic scholarship, these playe rs have a means of striving towards their desirable outcomes. With no expressed desire to return to their native home country, if these eight participants are unable to make it to the professional soccer ranks, they would transition to the category known a According to Magee and Sugdan (2002), a settler is someone who stays beyond their time which is usually four or five years. In this collegiate scenario, that is the duration of time required to earn an undergraduate degree. Expanding on this, Maguire (1999) indicates that these individuals usually stay in the same area in which they played. As indicated prior, this is of significant importance since ISAs are not allowed to stay beyond the expi ration date on their visas and must return to their native countries or leave the US if additional arrangements cannot be made. These participants see very limited opportunities at home and have indicated their willingness to remain in the US if unable to play on the next level. For the three seniors in the group especially, this scenario can unfold very soon since there were all a semester away from graduation
88 with no solid lead towards their professional aspirations. So this typology has important signifi this is the case, the typology of settler proposed by Magee and Sugdan (2002) and Macguire (1999) becomes relevant. For a sojourn such as this, a high level of adventurism is required. Lee and Rice (2007) indicated that international students have a difficult time adjusting to a new host culture especially if the journey overseas is a first. The typology nomadic cosmopolitan according to Magee and Sugdan (2002) and Macguire (19 99) is reserved for the athlete who is adventurous and enjoys experiencing different cultures and meeting different people. Sport then becomes a vehicle in order to accomplish this exploit. With the assistance of the athletic scholarship, an athlete can le gitimately travel to the US and be able to experience the American way of life whilst working towards a undergraduate degree, and playing sport. This may also be a reason why ISAs typically deemphasize the competitive aspect of sport and attach importance to other identities (Popp, 2006). For these eight players, sport is the vehicle through which there are able to work towards their future aspirations. Along the way, they have an opportunity to experience a different host environment and interact with thos e from different cultural backgrounds. This summary has shown that the emerging themes are connected to previous bodies of research. With a unique group of participants selected and the aim of controlling the vast amount of variability that comes with thi s line of research, the current study will now be concluded.
89 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION With the enrollment numbers of international student athletes increasing drastically within the United States over the last decade (DeHass, 2009), this study sought to exami ne the reasons why international student athletes travel to the US to engage in/play college sport. An additional objective was to re examine some of the adjustment issues that are prevalent when ISAs undertake this journey, as well as to confirm whether o r not US college athletic recruitment is being used as an avenue for migration. This study was successful in reporting that motivational reasons have evolved, and may continue to do so when one consider s and whether or not financial assistance in the form of athletic scholarships are awarded. Furthermore, the ec o nomic standing of consideration in successfully transitioning to and competing in US collegiate athleti cs. One previously published study reported that the progressive nature of the American sporting platform may allow foreign athletes to showcase their talents and abilities in the hope of going professional (Bale, 1991). This current research indicates tha t this is likely specific to the sport in question and whether or not there is global appeal for the competition. In their 2001 study on researching ISAs, Ridinger and Pastore focused the majority of their efforts on the adjustment process for ISAs. They r eported that ISAs face an insurmountable task adjusting to a new US culture once immersed. With research focusing on coaches and administrators, perceptions were such that ISAs were viewed either favorably or not depending on the competitive division for w hich they were recruited. The issue of American tax dollars being spent on
90 Labeled as the most progressive form of sport migration today (Bartolacci, 2010; Yukelson, 2008), ISAs are using thei r talents and abilities as a means of competing for athletic scholarships and hence the opportunity to travel to the US to play collegiate sport. This journey brings with it a multitude of emotional and social issues according to Ridinger and Pastore (200 1), which when fully considered can have a profound (Maguire & Falcous, 2010). This journey calls for a resettlement process where the individual must adapt to the acc epted norms and procedures of this new environment. Some of the resettlement factors include managing the expectations from coaches, administrators and teammates, and also coming to terms with the competitive nature of US collegiate sports. This according to Hanton et al. (2005) places a great amount of stress of the ISA, who at the onset are at a disadvantage and are in a setting prone to failure. Despite these factors however, recruitment numbers appear to be on the rise with over 17,000 ISAs representi ng NCAA Divisions I III member institutions (NCAA, 2011). While there are arguably many benefits to having ISAs on US campuses, Maguire and where sporting organizations inc luding US institutions of higher learning, have placed a heavy emphasis on foreign personnel. These findings all identified some of the complexities involved with ISA recruitment. In large part, the significance of this study comes from the fact that motiv ational reasons for ISAs journeying to the US, have evolved and we are now seeing varying reasons being stated for a post secondary player deciding to enroll and compete in US
91 college athletics. Exodus, a lack of established professional soccer networks, s uccess at home, and role modeling were all identified as motivational reasons for the ISAs interviewed in this study in making this decision. This is particularly relevant when one considers that in a recent study by Trendafilova et al. (2010) ISAs were r eporting higher levels of satisfaction with the services they were receiving once they arrived at their US. This is in contradiction with earlier reports of isolation and estrangement and thus, further exploration was warranted here. This study assessed th e reasons why ISAs travel to the US to play college sport and also revisited some of the adjustment issues mentioned in prior bodies of research. This study also examine d whether US college athletic recruitment is used as an avenue for eventual migration b y ISAs. The results herein indicate that post secondary, male soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago appear to be using the collegiate recruitment system as a mechanism aimed at migrating to the US. Their motivations go beyond gaining access to better co aching and training facilities, as Bale (1991) suggested, as they all clearly indicated a could not easily be achieved in their native island of Trinidad and Tobago. Cit ing the need for a better life and higher standard of living, participants saw the opportunity to not only play post secondary soccer, but also sought a chance of transitioning to the professional ranks after their college careers were over and they had ea rned a college degree. All ISAs in the study communicated very strong desires to compete in a post collegiate professional league either on a US national or international arena. They also believed that in order for them to have any chance of realizing or c oming close to this
92 goal, journeying to the US to engage in college athletics, was the most overwhelming factor that would put them one step closer to this dream/goal. In this study, the participants by self labeling and description all appeared to origina all reported having access to some financial familial support throughout their college careers. For reference, Trinidad and Tobago may be one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean with natural resources including oil and petroleum that account for a nited N ations developing countries are, in general, countries that have not achieved a significant degree of industrialization relative to their populations, and have, in most cases, a medium to low standard of living. This is noteworthy here in that these pla yers, despite having by comparison relatively humble beginnings, all have/had first world aspirations. With limited options to play after graduating from high school and armed with dreams of playing professionally abroad, these ISAs had to be largely self motivated as there is no firm/established avenue to professional leagues abroad. When asked to choose between going professional straight after high school and going to college in the US, the professional route, interestingly was the unanimous selection. T he US collegiate system however, serves as the next best alternative to professional opportunities abroad. This opportunity was used as one of planning and preparation by the ISAs. When prompted for details, stalled sport development efforts in their nati ve Trinidad and Tobago as well as a perceived lack of credibility and world recognition with
93 mentioning here that the professional league in Trinidad and Tobago has been plague d by corruption and financial crisis and participants in this study did not generally hold a favorable view regarding opportunities within this local organization. They did not view the domestic professional league as a viable option despite some reporting they had been courted by the teams/league in their home country. Again, personal drive and ambition propelled these ISAs to migrate with hopes of accomplishing their desired outcomes. Supporting the desire to leave home for overall personal development, c ombined with the lack of viable options to play on the home front, the individual and collective successes these players enjoyed a grand degree of success at home representing their high schools, clubs and national team were motivating factors towards a jo urney to the US for collegiate athletics. Half of the participants in this study had previously represented their country at the youth national level and most played for high schools that have strong national and regional reputations are secondary soccer p owerhouses. ISAs here were motivated by the accolades they had received and this played a significant role in them believing that they could compete for athletic scholarships in the US. It appears that there was no doubt in their minds, regarding them havi ng the physical ability to meet the rigors of US college athletics. They all felt that their years of preparation in Trinidad and Tobago Secondary school sports provided a solid foundation that helped develop their playing abilities and talents. Added to t his, is a pattern of progression that has somewhat informally been laid out for them by friends and former teammates who themselves traveled to the US to
94 compete in US college athletics. Encouragement by local secondary school coaches who may be familiar t o a certain extent with this process also factored here. While actual numbers do not appear to be officially available, the number of players leaving Trinidad and Tobago bound for the US has increased in recent years and there is a trend of post secondary student soccer players traveling to the US for college athletics and to earn an undergraduate degree. In looking at economic standing spatial gateways, and the reexamination of adjustment issues an ISA had to face, economics distinguished itself as the ma jor consideration and leading determinant as to whether players were able to sustain themselves beyond the athletic scholarship. Altbach (2004) argues that upfront fees can be a major constraint for ISA considering traveling to the US and this fact was ver ified by this study. Some of the participants and their parents sought financial assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago government to help finance their transition to US collegiate athletics, but only one individual in this study was successful in obtaini ng assistance via this avenue. Others were not aware of this as an option, and this lack of access again poses a hindrance to potential ISAs. Adding to the complexity of this situation is the currency exchange ratio between US dollars and Trinidad and Toba go dollars. With the US dollar being at least six times the equivalent of the Trinidad dollar, families have to endure added hardship in coming up with the necessary out of pocket expenses ISAs are expected to pay (visa fees, airline tickets, some tuition, some room and board etc.).In regards to spatial gateways, the only major factor considered was the amount of financial aid players were awarded from their respective institutions. Location of the college within the US did not factor into where players dec ided to matriculate, and
95 thus, the predetermined settlement decision of individuals that takes place during a typical migration process was not a factor here. ISAs however did indicate that their teammates (regardless of country of origin) aided in their a bility to adjust to the US culture and US college athletics and all spoke favorably of team coaches and professors. If there were fellow nationals or co nationals on the soccer team at their institution or as members of the wider student population, this w as cited as a benefit/plus. Participants in general, did not indicate any major social adjustment issues in this study. This is likely due to the fact that the widespread availability of the internet and social media has made images and information of life in the US in general and within a college setting readily available to anyone with access to a computer/smart phone and internet connection. Implications for Research and Practice The global appeal of sport is a constantly changing phenomenon and one of the areas I believe that is fueling this change has to do with the movement of athletes across international borders. Pinned as the most prevalent form of sport migration, ISAs journey to the US for a multitude of reasons. The complexity under this line of inquiry lies with the ability of researchers to capture their experiences while controlling for the enormous amount of variability that comes with it. Grouping ISAs together was the typical sampling technique employed in prior bodies of research and this is problematic in the sense that ISAs come to the US from different walks of life, with different life experiences and with different expectations and outcomes. Hence, motivational reasons these limitations and take a more systematic approach to researching the motivational reasons for traveling to the US to play collegiate sport.
96 This study used a controlled sample group: current male soccer players from Trinidad and Tobago playing for memb er institutions of the NAIA. The themes deciphered here provide a baseline that can now be tested against different populations to further examine whether the motivational reasons ISAs from different parts of the world are similar to the ones outlined here in. By controlling the variability in sport played, country of origin, gender, and institution member affiliation, a more meaningful outcome in terms of findings were sought. This study also allowed for the comparison of previous research findings and ex ploration of new research areas such as the economic st anding of the players family, and spatial gateways as influential factors. Bale (1991) reports that ISAs journey primarily out of a need to gain access to facilities and coaching. In the current study this was reaffirmed but the motivational reasons went beyond gaining access to these items, but also had more to do with personal development and a desire for a better way of life and an improved standard of living. Ridinger and Pastore (2001) reported tha t ISAs have an insurmountable task ahead trying to adjust to a new host culture. In reality, concerning this group of study participants, this was not noted to be the case. These players were highly motivated and communicated that adjusting to their new en vironment posed little to none in terms of social or emotional issues. The major issue that became evident in this investigation was that of the financial aspect and obligations that the ISA had to face in arriving at their intended US institution and shor tly thereafter. Limitations With scholarly research there are limitations that must be highlighted. While this study was limited in its sample size and scope, this was intentionally done. It allowed for the control of important variables that were atypica l in previous bodies of research and
97 while the results cannot readily be transferable to other ISAs populations, the findings certainly provide a baseline that can be tested against other groups of individuals and populations. Secondly, while the enrollmen t numbers of ISAs are reportedly on the rise, access to this unique group of students remains a major hurdle for a variety of reasons including individual schedules and availability. Lastly, some coaches and administrators are averse to making their player s available for interviews especially during respective seasons and this unfortunate event continues to perpetuate the divide between academia and the sport industry. Future Research Research into the attractiveness of US collegiate sports as an avenue for migration should continue in the near future as we try to piece together the motivational reasons for such journeys. With the information gathered from this study, ISAs of different nationalities, of different sexual orientations, or even in different spo rting contexts can be researched to see if motivational reasons line up with a need for overall personal development. Additionally, whether there are issues pertaining to sport development in respective home countries that may force athletes to migrate to the US remains an unanswered question. These circumstances may be directly correlated to athletes coming from less developed nations compared to someone traveling from a first world nation. For example, someone coming from Europe to play college sport in the US may be doing so for more adventurous reasons rather than for seeking better opportunities. This according to Magee and Sugdan (2002) would be a student (nomadic cosmopolitan) who just wants to experience American culture as opposed to seeking long t erm gains. Being able to differentiate among these motivational reasons
98 will assist in bringing a greater understanding to why ISAs from all over the world are attracted the US collegiate system. The participants in this study indicated a strong desire fo the author translated here to mean a higher standard of living and access to sundry opportunities. Comparing these finding to already establish theoretical underpinnings may prove fruitful. One such theory is that of self determi nation theory (Deci and Ryan, the drive to exert force can be explained along a continuum. This continuum includes one extreme intrinsic motivation (IM), and on the oth er extreme amotivation (AM). In the middle of this continuum lies extrinsic motivation (EM). This may prove quite informative and warrants additional exploration. It would be interesting to explore where these players from Trinidad and Tobago would lie on this continuum, as well as whether or not this would change as the ISAs progressed through the college system. Further, the trip to the US was categorized and as a stepping stone by ISAs and a phase of planning and preparation. The theory of planned behavi or (Ajzen,1985) in which subjective norms, attitudes, intentions, and behavior are examined, might help explain some of these occurrences as well as achievement goal theory (AGT) (Nicholls, in the sport context climate. The application of these theories to ISAs may help understand the motivational climate perpetuating this strong and overwhelming desire to travel to the US. The motivational climate which is defined as the levels of success and failure that occur within a social environment can also influence athlete motivation (Ames, 1992). In
99 conclusion, this area of research is within its infancy stages by most accounts and the possibilities are endless.
100 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Will begin each interview discussing reasons for playing sport (common bond): 1. When did you start playing soccer and which high school did you represent? 2. Why soccer? Or do you play another sport as well? 3. Do siblings or parents play? More specific questions: 1. Tell me about your family background. 2. What was life like growing up in your household & country? 3. What kind of support was important to you? 4. Tell me about the expectatio ns your parents had for you growing up. 5. How were you funded for college? (personal funds/ scholarship) 6. Tell me about your experiences while being recruited and the reasons behind traveling to the US. 7. What were some of the criteria you used when deciding on which college or university to attend? 8. What were some of the outcomes you were striving for? Have any changed? 9. Tell me about the people you spend /spent the most time with on campus. 10. Describe your experience interacting with teammates, coaches, and teache rs. 11. Tell me about your involvement with on campus organizations. 12. How would you describe your communication skills? 13. When with friends, how do you communicate/speak? Do you communicate with your coaches the same way you do with your teammates?
101 AP PENDIX B INFORMED CONSENT Protocol Title: Why do Foreign Athletes Come to the U.S. to Play College Sports? Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: To further examine the motivational reason for why international student athletes travel to the U.S. to play sport. What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be interviewed on two separate occasions one month apart and may be contacted after the second interview to review the accuracy of the information collected Time required: 30 60 minutes Risks and Benefits: No more than minimal risk. The direct benefit to the participants in this research is gaining additional knowledge of why international student athletes travel to the U.S. Compensation: There is no compensation for this survey. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your name will not be collected. The demographic information we obtain will be kept con fidential to the extent provided by law. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Cornell E. Foo, Doctoral Candidate, College of Health and Human Performance, Room 206D Florida Gym, ph. 352 294 1675 Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250; phone 392 0433.
102 Agreement: I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agr ee to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ____________ ________________________ Date: _________________ Principal Investigato r: ____________________________D ate: _________________
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111 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ative country of Trinidad and Tobago back in 1997 when he was awarded an athletic scholarship to attend Brewton Parker College (BPC) in Mt. Vernon Georgia. At BPC, Cornell played collegiate soccer during his time there and graduated with a Bachelor of Scie nce degree in business management. While working in the business sector for several years, Cornell had the opportunity to coach soccer on the youth level and his interest in coaching lead him to the University of Georgia (UGA) where he completed a M aster o f Ed ucation in physical education and sport studies. At UGA, Cornell had the opportunity to teach multiple physical activity courses which he thoroughly enjoyed. After graduating from UGA, Cornell began his doctoral studies at the University of Florida (U F) where he was able to continue his research in sports. His studies focused on college athletics, but more specifically, international student athletes traveling to the U nited S tates to play college sport. While at UF, Cornell taught, Ethical Issues in Sp ort, Sport and Society, Sport Marketing and Sport Administration. Cornell also served in the capacity of an internship supervisor and volunteered as a mentor to incoming student athletes through the office of student life. He completed his Ph.D. and grad uated from the University of Florida August 2013.