Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Science (Sports Science)


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Dr Mike Newton

Second Supervisor

Dr Mike McGuigan


The majority of the literature on physiological testing and time-motion analysis (TMA) of soccer performance has been conducted on elite senior soccer players. Few TMA studies have focused on young soccer players and currently, there is nothing focusing on global positioning system (GPS) derived data in this cohort. This study aimed to assess in a group of youth soccer players, the reliability of the selected physiological variables, establish a physiological profile of essential performance characteristics, quantify match-related performance such as time motion characteristics, positional roles and physical demands, and examine the relationship between criterion measures acquired from physiological testing and GPS data during match-play. Thirty-four male outfield players (mean ± standard deviation; age 16.5 ± 1.1 years; height 175.2 ± 6.0 cm; weight 65.3 ± 7.2 kg) from three Premier Division 18s soccer teams in the Western Australia State League were recruited and split according to playing position; centre-backs (n=6), fullbacks (n=6), central midfielders (n=7), wide midfielders (n=8) and strikers (n=7). Test-retest reliability and the performance of physiological variables such as peak force, rate of force development (RFD), peak power, vertical jump (VJ) height, agility, aerobic endurance, sprint performance and repeated sprint ability (RSA) were established. The participants from each team were tracked by GPS (GPSports SPI Elite, ACT, Australia) over the entire playing time of four consecutive matches, and in total, GPS data was accumulated from twelve league games for TMA of soccer performance. All variables of the RFD, static jump (SJ), Soccer Specific Agility Test (SSAT), 20 m and 10 m sprint times, and percent sprint decrement of RSA (RSAdec), were associated with low intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values, suggesting poor test-retest reliability. No significant differences were revealed by one way repeated measures ANOVA for the mean performance of any of the physiological variables between playing positions with the exception of one criterion measure of the SSAT, while numerous significant main effects across positional groupings were found in the GPS data acquired during match-play (p < 0.05). Paired t tests identified a number of significant main effects among match-related performance between playing halves (p < 0.05). In addition, many large and moderate effect size (ES) values for performance measures between playing positions and halves were detected. Pearson product correlations were used to examine relationships with significant and strong inverse correlations evident between the variables of the 30 m sprint, RSA test and SSAT, and sprint performance during match-play (r = -0.506 to -0.644; p < 0.05). This study showed that the physiological profiles of essential performance characteristics for young soccer players were similar across playing positions. There were numerous significant main effects between playing positions and halves during match-play, and hence, position-specific testing and conditioning protocols may be efficacious in effectively preparing young soccer players for competition. More TMA studies of young soccer players using larger sample sizes are warranted to substantiate the findings of this study.

LCSH Subject Headings

Edith Cowan University. Faculty of Computing, Health and Science -- Dissertations

Soccer -- Ability testing

Soccer -- Physiological aspects