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    Influence of match status and possession status on the physical and technical characteristics of elite youth female soccer match-play

    Harkness-Armstrong, A, Till, K, Datson, N ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5507-9540 and Emmonds, S (2023) Influence of match status and possession status on the physical and technical characteristics of elite youth female soccer match-play. Journal of Sports Sciences, 41 (15). pp. 1437-1449. ISSN 0264-0414

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    Abstract

    This study compared the influence of match status (drawing, losing, or winning) and possession status (in-possession, out-of-possession, or ball-out-of-play) on the physical and technical characteristics of U14 and U16 elite youth female soccer match-play. Data were collected from 189 female academy players during 45 competitive matches, resulting in 387 match observations. Linear mixed models estimated relative; total distance, high-speed running (≥3.00 m·s−1), very high-speed running (≥4.83 m·s−1), and sprinting (≥5.76 m·s−1) distance according to match status and possession status, and 21 technical variables according to match status. Differences in physical and technical characteristics were observed between and within age-groups, dependent upon match status and possession status. Regardless of match status, both age-groups covered greater distances when the ball was in-play compared to ball-out-of-play (107–130 vs 58–68 m·min−1). U16s covered greater distances when out-of-possession than in-possession, regardless of match status. Whilst U14s covered greater distances out-of-possession when drawing or losing only. Differences in physical and technical characteristics when drawing, losing, or winning, suggest a change in playing style according to match status, likely in an attempt to influence or maintain the score-line. These findings have practical implications for coaching, talent identification and development practices within youth female soccer.

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