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Surveying the youth-to-senior transition landscape in Major league Soccer: a new frontier

Mannix, P, Roberts, SJ, Enright, KJ and Littlewood, MA (2023) Surveying the youth-to-senior transition landscape in Major league Soccer: a new frontier. Science and Medicine in Football. ISSN 2473-3938

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to survey Major League Soccer stakeholders’ attitudes and perspectives on the youth-to-senior transition with a particular interest in the league’s evolving club structures, specifically the reserve team and youth academy entities. The survey assessed various stakeholders’ views on clubs’ organizational aims and structure, the capabilities of club entities to prepare players for the first team, and the transition process to the first team within MLS clubs. Methods: A total of 80 participants working in various “player operation” roles for MLS organizations in the United States and Canada voluntarily completed the online survey. Results: The predominant aim for both reserve teams and academies in MLS organizations is to develop players for the first team. The organizational structure and governance of reserve teams are varied across the league, but an overarching feature of reserve teams is their function as a development team. When players are transitioning, communication between staff may or may not be clear and effective. Finally, for players within MLS clubs’ talent pathway, a variety of support strategies are made available during the transition into the first team, but psychological support in particular may be limited or unavailable. Conclusion: Similar to European soccer, the aim of MLS youth academies and reserve teams is to develop first team players for the club. Though, while players are transitioning into the first team, communication may or may not be clear and effective, and psychological support may be absent, which may impair player development initiatives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Science and Medicine in Football on 20/10/23 ,available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/24733938.2023.2272605
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 15:27
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 16:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/24733938.2023.2272605
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21744
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