A Comparison of Physical Abilities and Match Performance Characteristics Among Elite and Subelite Under-14 Soccer Players

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 University of New England
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This study aimed to identify characteristics of match performance and physical ability that discriminate between elite and subelite under-14 soccer players. Players were assessed for closed performance and movement, physiological responses, and technical actions during matches. Elite players covered more total m·min−1 (115.7 ± 6.6 cf. 105.4 ± 7.7 m·min−1) and high-intensity m·min−1 (elite = 14.5 ± 2.3 cf. 11.5 ± 3.7 m·min−1) compared with subelite players. Elite players also attempted more successful (0.41 ± 0.11 cf. 0.18 ± 0.02) and unsuccessful ball retentions·min−1 (0.14 ± 0.04 cf. 0.06 ± 0.02) compared with subelite players. Elite players were faster over 10 m (1.9 ± 0.1 cf. 2.3 ± 0.2 s) and faster dribblers (16.4 ± 1.4 cf. 18.2 ± 1.1 s) compared with subelite players. Speed (10 m) and successful ball retention·min−1 contributed to a predictive model, explaining 96.8% of the between-group variance. The analysis of match performance provides a more thorough understanding of the factors underlying talent among youth soccer players.

Waldron is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Sciences and Murphy with the School of Science and Technology University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.

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