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J Sports Sci. 2000 Sep;18(9):669-83.

Anthropometric and physiological predispositions for elite soccer.

Author information

1
Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK. t.p.reilly@livjm.ac.uk

Abstract

This review is focused on anthropometric and physiological characteristics of soccer players with a view to establishing their roles within talent detection, identification and development programmes. Top-class soccer players have to adapt to the physical demands of the game, which are multifactorial. Players may not need to have an extraordinary capacity within any of the areas of physical performance but must possess a reasonably high level within all areas. This explains why there are marked individual differences in anthropometric and physiological characteristics among top players. Various measurements have been used to evaluate specific aspects of the physical performance of both youth and adult soccer players. The positional role of a player is related to his or her physiological capacity. Thus, midfield players and full-backs have the highest maximal oxygen intakes ( > 60 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and perform best in intermittent exercise tests. On the other hand, midfield players tend to have the lowest muscle strength. Although these distinctions are evident in adult and elite youth players, their existence must be interpreted circumspectly in talent identification and development programmes. A range of relevant anthropometric and physiological factors can be considered which are subject to strong genetic influences (e.g. stature and maximal oxygen intake) or are largely environmentally determined and susceptible to training effects. Consequently, fitness profiling can generate a useful database against which talented groups may be compared. No single method allows for a representative assessment of a player's physical capabilities for soccer. We conclude that anthropometric and physiological criteria do have a role as part of a holistic monitoring of talented young players.

PMID:
11043893
DOI:
10.1080/02640410050120050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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