The present study aimed to assess the physical match performance among senior and youth soccer players from an elite Scottish Premiership club during the 2021/2022 season. Twenty-two first team (25.9 ± 4.5 years, 78.3 ± 8.2 kg, 1.82 ± 0.07 cm) and 16 youth players (16.8 ± 0.9 years, 70.1 ± 6.8 kg, 177 ± 5.8 cm) were examined. A selection of physical match performance variables were measured using a global positioning system. Linear mixed-effect regressions revealed for all examined variables no significant differences between first team and U-18 players and no significant differences between playing level by position interaction. Across both teams, Centre Backs compared to Wing Backs, showed a 295 m (p < 0.01) lower high-intensity distance, and performed on average 36 fewer very-high intensity decelerations (p = 0.03). Comparing to Wide Midfielders, Centre Backs showed lower total (1297 m, p = 0.01), high-intensity (350 m, p = 0.01), and sprint (167 m, p < 0.01) distances. Sprint distance was also lower in Centre Backs vs. Strikers (118 m, p = 0.03), and in Central Midfielders vs. both Strikers (104 m, p = 0.03) and Wide Midfielders (154 m, p = 0.01). The present findings highlight the physical match performance of elite Scottish players and provide useful information within the context of understanding how methods of physical development of youth soccer are implemented in different countries.
- Physical performance
- Elite European soccer players
- Competitive level