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Variance in prominence levels and in patterns of passing sequences in elite and youth soccer players: A network approach

Mendes, B. ; Clemente, F.M.C. ; Maurício, N.

Journal of Human Kinetics Vol. 60, Nº 1, pp. 1 - 17, March, 2018.

ISSN (print): 1640-5544
ISSN (online): 1899-7562

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,64 (in 2018)

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The aim of this study was to quantify the prominence levels of elite and highly competitive young soccer players. This study also analyzes the variation in general network properties at different competitive levels and periods of the season. A total of 132 matches, disputed by 28 teams during the 2015/2016 season, were analyzed. The results revealed significant statistical differences in the composition of general network measures at the competitive level (p = 0.002; ES = 0.077) and according to the location of the match (p = 0.001; ES = 0.147). There were positive correlations between network density and final score (ρ = 0.172) and negative correlations between network density and goals conceded (ρ = - 0.300). Significant statistical differences in the composite of centralities were found between positions (p = 0.001; ES = 0.293; moderate effect) and place of the match (p = 0.001; ES = 0.013; no effect). This revealed that the general properties of cooperation increase with the competitive level, improve during the middle of the season and are better in home matches. Midfielders were the most prominent players in elite and U19 teams and mid-season and central defenders had the most prominent centralities in U17 and U15 and during the early and late periods of the season