The aim of the present study was to investigate into whether skill, physiological and anthropometric variables could predict on pitch performance in elite youth soccer players. On pitch performance was determined as overall success in 11 youth soccer matches using 14 elite youth soccer players (mean ± SD: age 17.4 ± 0.8 years, body mass 72.1 ± 1.2 kg, height 177.8 ± 5.7 cm, % body fat 9.0 ± 1.2 %). Testing consisted of 12 soccer skills tests, 5 physiological tests and 3 anthropometric tests. Match analysis was used to measure success for on/around the ball actions in soccer matches for all 11 players, which accumulated into one overall success for each player. 20m passing accuracy was established as the best predictor of overall success in soccer matches (adjusted r2=0.499, p=0.009). Alongside this, dribbling performance with the right foot, alternate juggling, 30m sprint time, counter movement jump height and body mass, all significantly correlated with overall success. The influence of age as a confounding variable was eliminated with the use of age residuals where necessary. In conclusion, the results from skill test variables best correlated with, and predicted, overall success in elite youth soccer players. These results will aid the talent identification process as well as the talent development process in elite youth soccer as it has determined what variables are central to being successful within an elite population at this age range.
|Date of Award||2012|
|Supervisor||Rob James (Supervisor), Doug Thake (Supervisor) & Robbie S. Wilson (Supervisor)|
- performance predictors
- elite athletes
- young people