The Physical and Athletic Performance Characteristics of Division I Collegiate Female Soccer Players by Position
Lockie, RG, Moreno, MR, Lazar, A, Orjalo, AJ, Giuliano, DV, Risso, FG, Davis, DL, Crelling, JB, Lockwood, JR, and Jalilvand, F. The physical and athletic performance characteristics of Division I collegiate female soccer players by position. J Strength Cond Res 32(2): 334–343, 2018—Playing positions in soccer can exhibit different movement demands during a match, contributing to variations in physical and performance characteristics. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) soccer features different substitution rules when compared to FIFA-sanctioned matches, which could influence each players' characteristics. Therefore, this study determined the athletic performance characteristics of Division I female soccer players. Twenty-six players (3 goalkeepers; 8 defenders; 10 midfielders; 5 forwards) from the same squad completed assessments of: lower-body power (vertical and standing broad jump); linear (0–5, 0–10, 0–30 meter [m] sprint intervals) and change-of-direction (pro-agility shuttle; arrowhead change-of-direction speed test) speed; and soccer-specific fitness (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test [YYIRT] levels 1 and 2). Players were split into position groups, and a Kruskal–Wallis H test with post hoc pairwise analyses (p ≤ 0.05) calculated significant between-group differences. There were no differences in age, height, or body mass between the positions. Midfielders had a faster 0–5 m time compared with the defenders (p = 0.017) and the goalkeepers (p = 0.030). The defenders (p = 0.011) and midfielders (p = 0.013) covered a greater YYIRT2 distance compared with the goalkeepers. There were no other significant between-position differences. Overall, Division I collegiate female players from the same squad demonstrated similar characteristics as measured by soccer-specific performance tests, which could allow for flexibility in position assignments. However, a relatively homogenous squad could also indicate commonality in training prescription, particularly regarding acceleration and high-intensity running. Strength and conditioning coaches may have to consider the specific movement demands of individual positions when training these capacities.