Evolution of soccer as a research topic

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2020 Nov-Dec;63(6):723-729. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2020.06.011. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


Soccer has not only the largest number of worldwide participants, it is also the most studied sport, with nearly 14,000 citations listed on Pubmed and nearly 60% more articles than the next most studied sport. Research about soccer was limited until the late 1970s when exponential growth began; approximately 98% of all soccer-related research publications have occurred since 1980. This vast repository of soccer research shows trends in various major (e.g., 'sex' or 'age group' or 'performance' or 'injury') and specialty (e.g., agility, deceleration, elbow-head impact injuries, behavior) topics. Examining trends of the various topics provides insights into which subjects have come in and out of favor as well as what topics or demographics have been neglected and worthy of inquiry. A further examination can be used by students to learn the most productive researchers, which programs have a strong history of inquiry, and what journals have demonstrated a commitment to publishing research on soccer.

Keywords: Association football; Pubmed; Research history.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends*
  • Sex Factors
  • Soccer / trends*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult