Backround and objectives: In comparison to their European counterparts, there are scarce data regarding skill performance in young elite female North African soccer players. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of a season-long training regime on anthropometric and physical performance characteristics, agility, and soccer skills in Tunisian youth elite female players. Materials and methods: Forty-eight females (24 soccer players SG; 24 non-playing controls, CG) were evaluated at the start of a preparatory period (T1) in September, and 10 months later in June (T2), the end period of the competitive season. Anthropometrics (body mass, body composition), soccer-specific cardiorespiratory endurance (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1; YYIRT1), muscle power (countermovement jump [CMJ]; squat-jump [SJ]; 5-Jump-Test [5JT]), agility (T-test with and without ball), soccer skill (Loughborough Soccer Passing Test, LSPT) and sprint speed (30 m sprint with 5 and 10 m splits) were measured. Results: The SG experienced significant performance improvements in all tests across the period of the competitive season, demonstrating better improvements in height (P < 0.0001, ES = 1.69), weight (P < 0.0001, ES = 0.92) and BF (P < 0.0001, ES = 1.63). Better CMJ (P < 0.0001, ES = 1.63), SJ (P < 0.0001, ES = 1.33), and 5JT performances than the CG (P < 0.004, ES = 0.39). Similarly, the SG performed better in the sprint, agility, and LSPT tests and covered longer distances in YYIRTL1 (P < 0.0001) compared to the CG. Conclusion: Soccer season training contributed to significant variations in anthropometric characteristics, physical fitness, and soccer skills in Tunisian elite female youth soccer players compared to control group that are beyond those which could be expected through biological maturation alone.
- Adolescent elites
- Annual training
- Performance indicators
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine