FSI Football Science Update

When and How do Professional Soccer Players Experience Maximal Intensity Sprints in Laliga?

Oliva-Lozano JM, Fortes V, López-Del Campo R, Resta R, Muyor JM.

Sci Med Footb. 2022 Jul 8. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2022.2100462.

This study of 1252 match observations from 277 male professional soccer players found that maximal intensity sprints were more frequent in the first and last periods of the match (0′-15′; 75′-90′) regardless of the playing position, and were usually non-linear actions without possession of the ball. The mean sprint duration ranged from ~4.9 s to ~9 s, the mean distance covered ranged from ~30 m to ~55 m, while the mean maximum velocity was between ~30.12 and ~32.80 km/h depending on the tactical purpose and playing position (e.g., CD: interceptions; MF: recovery runs; FB, WMF and FW: run the channel). In conclusion, professional soccer players need to be prepared for maximal intensity sprints in the first period of the match as well as maximal intensity sprints under high fatigue conditions in the last period of the match. Also, training drills should be designed with a special focus on non-linear sprints without possession of the ball, and based on the main tactical purpose of each position.


Injury incidence, severity, and burden in elite youth soccer players – A 3-year prospective study.

Ruf L, Altmann S, Graf F, Romeike C, Wirths C, Wohak O, Härtel S. 

J Sci Med Sport. 2022 Jun 11:S1440-2440(22)00174-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2022.06.003.

This study investigated age-related injury incidence, severity, and burden over a 3-year period in 166 U14 to U19 elite male soccer players in a German youth academy. Average Injury incidence was 42.2 per squad season, severity was 11.0 days lost, and burden was 464.1 days lost per squad season. The thigh, knee and ankle were the body parts with the highest injury incidence, severity, and burden. Cruciate ligament injuries had both the highest burden and severity, and muscle injuries the highest incidence of all types of injuries. U15 had the highest injury incidence of all age groups. U14 and U17 had both the highest injury severity and burden of all age groups.


Anatomical Variability of the Soleus Muscle: A Key Factor for the Prognosis of Injuries?

Pedret C, Rupérez F, Mechó S, Balius R, Rodas G.

Sports Med. 2022 Jul 2. doi: 10.1007/s40279-022-01731-x.

This study on 107 soleus muscles by MRI during the years 2018–2021 found an enormous anatomical variability in the amount and distribution of connective tissue in the lateral and medial aponeurosis and the central tendon, and that the injuries in this muscle seems to have a worse prognosis when the injury is based on a dominant, bigger aponeurosis that conditions the direction and pennation angles of the muscle fibres. Ignoring this aspect is probably one of the main reasons why descriptive epidemiological series on soleus muscle injuries are not reliable and fail to find a reproducible prognostic pattern.