This article examines the career development of international football coaches in the context of their transnational migration. Previous research has mainly relied on the normative stages models to explain coaching career development, which has limitations in capturing the complexity and diversity of coach career trajectories, particularly in terms of unique individual experiences and contextual impacts on their career development. Drawing upon the theory of careership, this article seeks to bridge the gap by focusing on how individual coaches navigate their careers according to their horizon for action. Careership theory provides a useful lens through which to examine the interactions between individuals and their contexts, in gaining a more nuanced understanding of how these interactions shape career trajectories. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight international coaches who worked in China to gather qualitative data. The results show that the migration of coaches closely intertwined with their career development in a variety of ways, which were manifested in different career horizons for migration within two distinct stages of career development: (1) ‘career-consolidation’ reflecting the willingness to stabilise and solidify the career pathways, and (2) ‘career-reformulation’ highlighting the desires or needs to change the current career trajectories. The findings of this article suggest that career development is a multifaceted process encompassing normative, longitudinal steps, individualised approaches, objectives, constraints and unexpected events. Analysing coaches’ horizons for action allows researchers and practitioners (e.g. coach educators) to gain a holistic picture of individual and contextual distinctions within the longitudinal stages of coaching career development.
KEYWORDS: Coach; coaching career development; career stages;migration; careership; careerhorizons for action; China