The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to profile physical characteristics and motor abilities of three age groups of soccer players - under 14 years, 14-17, and over 17, playing different positions - goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards; and (b) to examine the inter-individual variability among the players in each age group in all physical and physiological measurements performed in the study. In addition, anthropometric, power, strength, and flexibility tests were administered. Findings showed large inter-individual variability in all three age groups and in all playing positions. Differences between playing positions were found only in the 14-17 group (body mass) and in the over-17 group (body height, body mass, fat-free mass, and mean power in the Wingate Anaerobic Test). Due to the observed large inter-individual variability, it was concluded that the findings obtained in the physical and physiological tests should be interpreted with caution when attempting to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful soccer players, as well as when trying to predict future success in soccer.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.