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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2007 September;47(3):270-5

language: English

Movement patterns in elite Brazilian youth soccer

Pereira Da Silva N. 1, Kirkendall D. T. 2, Leite De Barros Neto T. 1

1 CEMAFE – Center of Studies in Medicine of the Physical Activity and the Sport Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA


Aim. The aim of this study was to determine standards for the total distance covered (DC) and motion pattern characteristics of young Brazilian soccer players during competitive matches.
Methods. Seventy-five young soccer players from 5 of the most successful soccer clubs of Sao Paulo’s Soccer Federation were divided in 3 categories: under-15 years (U15), under-17 years (U17) and under-20 years (U20) with 25 soccer players in each age group. In the U15 each half lasts for 30 min, in the U17 40 min and in the U20 45 min. The individual measurements were made during games following accepted video-recording methodology. The players were grouped by position: fullbacks, wingers (WG), defensive midfielders, offensive midfielders (OMF) and strikers (STK). The following indices were determined: total distance, and distance jogging, walking, and sprinting. Age and position differences were determined by ANOVA.
Results. The intensity of the U15 (118 m/min) was significantly greater (P<0.05) than U17 (108 m/min) and U20 (109 m/min). WG and midfielders show greater DC than the other players in all other positions. STK and OMF show increased sprinting in U15 and U17 groups, respectively, and WG in U20s. The U15 group showed the greatest mean intensity when the time of each group was corrected to meters per minute.
Conclusion. The results show differences in running volume and intensity between the age groups during match play. The data suggest that earlier development, physical training and tactical organization in the young soccer player leads to a high level of energy during competition.

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