Physical Characteristics of Elite Youth Female Soccer Players Characterized by Maturity Status

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Aug;34(8):2321-2328. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002795.


Emmonds, S, Scantlebury, S, Murray, E, Turner, L, Robsinon, C, and Jones, B. Physical characteristics of elite youth female soccer players characterized by maturity status. J Strength Cond Res 34(8): 2321-2328, 2020-The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of maturity status on the physical characteristics of youth female soccer players. One hundred fifty-seven players from 3 elite soccer academies in England completed assessments of anthropometry, strength (isometric midthigh pull), lower-body power (countermovement jump [CMJ]), aerobic capacity (Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1), change of direction (CoD: 505-left/right), and speed (10 and 30 m). Each player was classified into 1 of 6 maturity groups based on their estimated years from peak height velocity (YPHV). Magnitude-based inferences were used to assess for the practical significance between consecutive groups. Speed, CoD time, CMJ, and aerobic capacity were all possibly most likely better in more mature players. However, there was a likely difference in relative peak force between maturity groups -0.5 YPHV (27.13 ± 4.24 N·Kg) and 0.5 YPHV (24.62 ± 3.70 N·Kg), which was associated with a likely difference in 10-m sprint time (-0.5 YPHV: 2.00 ± 0.12 vs. 0.5 YPHV 2.08 ± 0.16 seconds) and unclear changes in CMJ and CoD time. Findings provide novel comparative data for this cohort relative to maturity status and can be used by strength and conditioning coaches to inform the design of training programs for youth female soccer players. Strength and conditioning coaches should be aware that youth female soccer players may experience a decrease in relative strength around peak height velocity, which may impact upon the speed, CoD time, and CMJ of players.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development / physiology*
  • Anthropometry
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Running
  • Soccer / physiology*