Football student-athletes in Brazil tend to prioritize sports careers

Iuri Salim de Souza, PhD student in Education at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. 

Marcelo Alberto de Oliveira, PhD student in Education at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. 

Renato Francisco Rodrigues Marques, Associate Professor at the School of Physical Education and Sports of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto SP Brazil. 

Logo of the Educação & Sociedade journal.

In Brazil, soccer is realized by most young people as a strategy for social ascension. But what many do not know is this sport requires a great investment of time especially during adolescence, which young people need to conciliate training/competitions with the school routine, which becomes a great challenge.

The careers of athletes are unique, and the relationship between sport and school is dependent on the family origin, the set of experiences lived by young people in their most diverse environments and contexts (work, education, sport, state), as well as interaction with different people. Most of these student-athletes do not reach sports elite level and, consequently, need to get in the labor market, in which best job opportunities are associated with higher academic degrees.

In the article entitled Between football and school: a Bourdieusian analysis on a dual career in Brazil, published in the journal Educação & Sociedade (vol. 44), which is part of the doctoral thesis in Education of Iuri Salim de Souza developed at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP-USP), the relevance of understanding this phenomenon from a sociological perspective is highlighted.

In regard of the conflicts existing in the relationship between sports and academic fields,  a reflection is promoted on the way in which this intersection can influence young soccer student-athletes on their possibilities of reconciling this dual career, using the categories proposed by Pierre Bourdieu’s Reflexive Sociology as lenses for this analysis.The student-athletes in Brazil prioritized sports careers, especially at ages which they are about to become a professional player. Still, there is a changing tendency to the evening teaching period, due to greater sports commitments required by clubs. Consequently, these young people tend to have a shorter lenght of stay in school, which results from shorter studying hours and absences that occur due to travel and/or competitions.

Photomontage with two images, one below and the other above. The first,  located above, shows a soccer field with young people practicing the sport. The second, below the first, shows a pile of books on a blurred white background.

Photomontage. Source: Canva.

The association of these factors may contribute to further worsen the lack of interest in school and dropout, which have already revealed to be a social and economic trouble for many decades in Brazil. There is also a tendency for these student-athletes to present a low school linearity, which may impact on a future insertion/reinsertion in the labor market, especially the vast majority of young people who will not reach elite level.

The theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu helped showed the perspectives of these conflicts existing in the academic and sports fields, and allowed to conclude the ways in which school institutions and clubs are structured to deal with student-athletes in Brazil seems to privilege those agents who are already grantee in both spaces, which leads to a reproduction of social inequalities already existent.

Thus, it is important to suggest new studies addressing dual career, in order to understand this reality in different places in Brazil, especially with regard to high school dropout and the existence or not of school delay, which can influence the perception of career possibilities in student-athletes and insertion/reinsertion in the work market.

Still, there is an absence of studies about the influence of the new high school reforms with regard to individuals’ career perceptions, which deserves to be investigated, as well as the perspective of different social agents that are related to dual career, such as student-athletes, family members, managers of clubs and schools.

To read the article, acess

SOUZA, I.S., OLIVEIRA, M.A. and MARQUES, R.F.R. Between football and school: a bourdieusian analysis about dual career in Brazil. Educ Soc. [online]. 2023, vol. 44, e269734 [viewed 27 July 2023]. DOI: Available from:

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Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

SOUZA, I.S., OLIVEIRA, M.A. and MARQUES, R.F.R. Football student-athletes in Brazil tend to prioritize sports careers [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2023 [viewed ]. Available from:


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