A retrospective study on anthropometrical, physical fitness and motor coordination characteristics that influence drop out, contract status and first-team playing time in high-level soccer players, aged 8 to 18 years.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
J Strength Cond Res, 2014
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The goal of this manuscript was twofold and a two-study approach was conducted. The first study aimed to expose the anthropometrical, physical performance and motor coordination characteristics that influence drop out from a high-level soccer training program in players aged 8-16 years. The mixed-longitudinal sample included 388 Belgian youth soccer players who were assigned to either a 'club group' or a 'drop out group'. In the second study, cross-sectional data of anthropometry, physical performance and motor coordination were retrospectively explored to investigate which characteristics influence future contract status (contract vs. no contract group) and first-team playing time for 72 high-level youth soccer players (mean age=16.2 y).Generally, club players outperformed their drop out peers for motor coordination, soccer-specific aerobic endurance and speed. Anthropometry and estimated maturity status did not discriminate between club and drop out players. Contract players jumped further (p=0.011) and had faster times for a 5m sprint (p=0.041) than no contract players. The following prediction equation explains 16.7% of the variance in future playing minutes in adolescent youth male soccer players: -2869.3 + 14.6 * standing broad jump.Practitioners should include the evaluation of motor coordination, aerobic endurance and speed performances to distinguish high-level soccer players further succeeding a talent development program and future drop out players, between 8 and 16 years. From the age of 16 years, measures of explosivity are supportive when selecting players into a future professional soccer career.
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