Prediction of talent in youth soccer players: prospective study over 4-6 years

Norikazu Hirose

[Received August 3, 2010 ; Accepted March 25, 2011] 

Many recent studies have investigated talent identification in soccer players; however, no clear results have been reported due to the lack of prospective research designs. Moreover, the issue is complicated by large differences in individual biological maturation rates. The present study investigated the index of talent identifi cation for youth soccer players in career development. Sixty-two adolescent soccer players participated in this study. They were divided into professional, collegiate, and regional players based on their performance level at 18 years of age. Height, weight, skeletal age, stepping speed, endurance, and choice reaction time (hand: HRT, foot: FRT and hand-foot-complex: CRT) were measured. CRT was signifi cantly fasterin professional players and collegiate players compared with regional players. The mean values of body weight, height, and CRT tended to be higher for professional players than collegiate players, albeit statistically insignifi cant. Our fi ndings suggest that adolescent soccer players with faster CRT should be identifi ed as potential professional players.

Keywords: Youth soccer, Talent identification, Information-processing ability, Skeletal age

[Football Science Vol.8, 1-7, 2011]