Talent identification for soccer: Physiological aspects

Document Type



Elsevier Ltd


School of Medical and Health Sciences


Originally published as: Dodd, K. D., & Newans, T. J. (2018). Talent identification for soccer: Physiological aspects. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 21(10), 1073-1078. Original article available here


Objectives: Soccer coaches are always looking to discover the next star player, without investing the necessary resources, time, and effort into a player's development. In the modern era, talent identification in soccer seems to be a comparative process rather than a developmental process. This article will look at the physiological profiles of soccer players in the modern era and how testing and talent identification processes should coincide with this data.

Design: An extensive literature search identifying the physiological attributes of soccer players that are required to compete at an elite level was conducted. An examination of the methods to test these attributes was also conducted.

Methods: Studies were assigned into three areas to understand the physiological aspect of soccer: physiological testing methods, benchmark values, and correlations between different tests.

Results: A testing battery was established to test the key physiological attributes of prospective youth soccer players. Benchmark levels were also identified to allow coaches to understand areas of improvement.

Conclusions: Using a physiological testing battery will allow teams to track their players’ progress throughout their developmental years. This allows coaches to consistently identify a player's strengths and weaknesses, as well as allow players who may experience late maturation to still be identified.