Observations of player (de)selection within a professional UK soccer academy

Richard James Kite, Mark Noon, Rhys Morris, Peter Mundy, Neil Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study engaged in an ethnographical observation of the processes used to determine player (de)selections within a professional academy. English category-2 youth academy players (n = 96) from U10–U16 age groups undertook anthropometric profiling (height, mass and somatic maturation) and fitness assessments (10 m, 20 m & 30 m linear sprints, 505-agility test, countermovement and squat jumps). Each players lead coach (n = 4) subjectively graded players utilising a red, amber and green (RAG) rating system on a weekly (current performance) and quarterly (perceived potential) basis, across 25 weeks. A MANCOVA, controlling for maturation, was applied to determine differences in (de)selection by physical performance. Mann Whitney-U tests were used to distinguish difference in (de)selection by subjective grading (weekly and quarterly). The key finding was that quarterly subjective gradings established a higher cumulative score of green ratings in selected players and a low cumulative score of red ratings, and vice versa for deselected players (P ≤ 0.001 to 0.03). However, whilst these findings suggest that quarterly subjective grades of potential were able to provide the best predictors for player (de)selection, the findings should be viewed with caution due to high potential for confirmatory bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Science in Sport and Exercise
Issue number1
Early online date8 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Beijing Sport University 2023. Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.


  • Coach intuition
  • Physiological
  • Performance grading
  • Maturation
  • Subjective assessment


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