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Energy requirements of male academy soccer players from the English Premier League

Hannon, MP (2020) Energy requirements of male academy soccer players from the English Premier League. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The goal of professional soccer academies is to develop players who can progress and represent their first team or that can be sold for financial gain. As an academy player transitions through the academy pathway (i.e. from under, U9 to U23), they undergo distinct phases of growth and maturation that result in anatomical (e.g. an increase in stature and body mass), physiological (e.g. an increase in growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, testosterone and thyroid hormones) and metabolic changes (e.g. increased glycolytic capabilities). The collective result of such changes are likely to influence such daily energy requirements. However, unlike professional adult players, the body composition, physical loading patterns and associated daily energy expenditure have not yet been quantified in academy soccer players. A detailed understanding of such parameters is fundamental in order to promote growth and maturation whilst also maximising each players physical and technical development. With this in mind, the aim of this thesis was to determine the energy requirements of male academy soccer players from the English Premier League of different chronological and biological ages. The aim of Study 1 (Chapter 4) was to assess body composition and resting metabolic rate in a cohort of academy soccer players. In a cross-sectional design, ninety-nine males from a Category One English Premier League academy (U12-U23 age-groups) underwent assessments of body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, DXA) and resting metabolic rate (indirect calorimetry). Fat-free mass increased between the U12 (31.6 ± 4.2 kg) and U16 (56.3 ± 5.3 kg) age-groups after which no further increases occurred. Resting metabolic rate in the U12 (1655 ± 195 kcalday-1), U13 (1720 ± 205 kcalday-1) and U14 (1846 ± 218 kcalday-1) age-groups was significantly lower than the U15 (1957 ± 128 kcalday-1), U16 (2042 ± 155 kcalday-1), U18 (1875 ± 180 kcalday-1) and U23 (1941 ± 197 kcalday-1) age-groups. These data provide the first report of differences in body composition and resting metabolic rate in academy soccer players (as assessed via DXA and indirect calorimetry, respectively) and demonstrate that the growth and maturation occurring between U12-U16 significantly increases resting energy requirements. Having quantified body composition and resting metabolic rate in Study 1 (Chapter 4), the aim of Study 2 (Chapter 5) was to determine the typical weekly training and match loading patterns of academy soccer players. Over the course of an entire competitive season, weekly training and match load was quantified using global positioning system technology in 76 soccer players from a Category One English Premier League academy (U12-U18 age-groups). Weekly training and match volume (i.e. duration and total distance) was similar in the U12 (329 ± 29 min; 19.9 ± 2.2 km), U13 (323 ± 29 min; 20.0 ± 2.0 km) and U14 (339 ± 25 min; 21.7 ± 2.0 km) age-groups, but was lower than the U15 (421 ± 15 min; 26.2 ± 2.1 km), U16 (427 ± 20 min; 25.9 ± 2.5 km) and U18 (398 ± 30 min; 26.1 ± 2.6 km) age-groups. Weekly high-speed running and sprint distance (i.e. intensity) were comparable in the U12 (220 ± 95 m and 6 ± 9 m respectively), U13 (331 ± 212 m and 6 ± 27 m) and U14 (448 ± 193 m and 21 ± 29 m) age-groups was similar, but less than the U15 (657 ± 242 m and 49 ± 98 m), U16 (749 ± 152 m and 95 ± 55 m) and U18 (979 ± 254 m and 123 ± 56 m) age-groups. These data provide the first 4 report to objectively assess accumulative training and match loads in academy soccer players and demonstrate that the absolute loads are progressive in nature throughout the academy pathway. Given the progressive changes in body composition (Study 1, Chapter 4), resting metabolic rate (Study 1, Chapter 4) and physical loading patterns (Study 2, Chapter 5), the aim of Study 3 (Chapter 6) was to quantify the total daily energy expenditure of academy soccer players with different chronological and biological ages. Energy expenditure (doubly labelled water) and energy intake (remote food photographic method) was assessed over a 14-day in-season period in 24 soccer players from a Category One English Premier League academy (U12/13, n=8; U15, n=8; U18, n=8). U18 players presented with greater total energy expenditure (3586 ± 487 kcalday-1) than both the U15 (3029 ± 262 kcalday-1) and U12/13 players (2859 ± 265 kcalday-1), though no differences were evident between the U12/13 and U15 age-groups. Within age-groups, no differences were apparent between energy intake and total energy expenditure, whilst U18 players (3180 ± 279 kcalday-1) reported a higher energy intake than both the U15 (2821 ± 338 kcalday-1) and U12/13 (2659 ± 187 kcalday-1) players. In some individuals (evident in all age-groups) total energy expenditure was greater than that previously observed in adult English Premier League soccer players (3566 ± 585 kcalday-1). In summary, the data presented in this thesis provides the first report to simultaneously quantify body composition, resting metabolic rate, physical loading patterns and total daily energy expenditure of academy soccer players. Importantly, these data demonstrate that players’ absolute daily energy expenditure progressively increase as they become more biologically mature, likely a reflection of increased fat-free mass and physical loading patterns. From a practical perspective, these data will assist in developing population specific sport nutrition guidelines.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Energy; Sports nutrition; Growth and maturation; Academy football
Subjects: T Technology > TX Home economics > TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2020 10:11
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 10:05
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00013906
Supervisors: Morton, JP, Close, GL, Drust, B and Unnithan, V
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13906
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