Purpose: Understanding the desired attributes for talented soccer players may give insight into the process of (de)selection and player development. This study aimed to explore soccer academy personnel’s perceptions of attributes associated with talent and development. Methods: Thirty English and Scottish academy personnel (managers, coaches, recruitment, sports scientists) provided perceptions into what attributes contribute to ‘talent’, via an online survey. Utilising an E-Delphi method, seven experts refined these inputs over several rounds until a consensus was reached, resulting in 82 agreed terminology. This terminology was resubmitted via a second online survey, where 45 academy personnel rated each using a Likert scale. Results: A ranking of attributes by importance was produced, finding Psychological and Technical/Tactical attributes considered of greatest importance. Differences were observed, whereby recruitment personnel consistently over-emphasised the importance of several attributes compared to other personnel (P = 0.02–0.04). When analyzed within each age phase, 11 variations in the perceived importance of attributes were demonstrated in the youth phase (11–16 years, P = 0.01) compared with 5 in the professional phases (17–23 years, P = 0.01–0.05) Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that ‘talent’ requires multifaceted developments, with academy personnel perceiving psychological attributes the most important contributor to development.
- Elite player performance plan
- Talent development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Nutrition and Dietetics