Distinguishing Playing Status Through a Functionally Relevant Performance Measure in Female Division I Collegiate Soccer Athletes
Although soccer is predominately an endurance sport, high velocity movements may be an important indicator of athletic success. The purpose of this investigation was to establish whether squat jumps (SJ) can differentiate starters from non-starters with a female collegiate division I soccer team. Eighteen female division I soccer athletes were separated into two groups: 9 starters (age: 19.5 ± 1.0; mass = 64.8 ± 11.5 kg; height = 167.5 ± 7.7 cm; games started = 18.2 ± 4.7; minutes played = 1633.8 ± 478.2 min) and 9 non-starters (age: 19.4 ± 1.4 years; mass = 63.3 ± 4.2 kg; height = 164.7 ± 6.8 cm; games started 0.7 ± 1.3; minutes played 158.2 ± 269.3). Each athlete performed 3 maximal SJs at a starting knee angle of 110° without arm swing. Each participant’s SJ height, mean power (MP), peak power (PP), mean velocity (MV), and peak velocity (PV) were measured during each attempt by a linear position transducer (LPT). No statistically significant differences (p ≥ 0.05) in MP and PP between the starters and non-starters were observed. However, starters performed significantly better than non-starters in SJ height (p = 0.002), MV (p = 0.025), and PV (p = 0.015). Additionally, SJ height was strongly correlated with MV (r = 0.628) and PV (r = 0.647). These findings suggest that SJ height, MV and PV, may be important variables for discriminating differences between starters and non-starters in division I female soccer athletes and a strong indicator of explosive performance.