Selected, deselected, and reselected: a case study analysis of attributes associated with player reselection following closure of a youth soccer academy

James H. Dugdale*, Allistair P. McRobert, Viswanath B. Unnithan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Considering the perceived benefit of early recruitment and the time and resources spent developing youth players, individuals released from talent development programmes are often re-recruited by rival academies. However, due to the contractual nature of many talent development programmes, limited empirical data exists on players deselected from (or reselected to) youth soccer academies. Adopting a novel case study approach, differences in skill, psychological, and physical attributes associated with reselection following closure of a junior-elite soccer academy were explored. Overall subjective coach ratings for skill, psychological, and physical abilities; subjective coach ratings for skill and psychological attributes; and physical fitness test performance of 79 junior-elite soccer players (U11–U17) were assessed as part of regular scheduled testing and monitoring practices prior to the academy closure. Reselection status was monitored and recorded for all players in the 6 months following the academy closure and was classified as a persistence/progression (“Reselected”) or attrition (“Deselected”) in playing level. Of the 79 released players, a total of 60 players (76%) were re-signed to a junior-elite academy within 6 months. Differences were observed for overall ratings of skill, psychological, and physical abilities in favor of the “Reselected” player group. “Reselected” players were also rated higher by coaches for all attributes categorized as skill and psychological, as well as performing better at all physical fitness tests. However, “Reselected” players were lesser in stature and body mass and less mature than “Deselected” players. Our findings suggest that reselection is not a product of anthropometric criteria and, therefore, a pathway for selection remains open for later maturing players. We also inform upon desirable qualities associated with player reselection and provide a case study approach of a unique, yet highly relevant, scenario for talent identification and development in youth soccer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number633124
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Sports and Active Living
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • talent identification
  • talent development
  • selection
  • recruitment
  • football
  • decision making

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