Talent identification and development programmes have received broad attention in the last decades, yet evidence regarding the predictive utility of physical performance in female soccer players is limited. Using a retrospective design, we appraised the predictive value of performance-related measures in a sample of 228 youth female soccer players previously involved in residential Elite Performance Camps (age range: 12.7-15.3 years). With 10-m sprinting, 30-m sprinting, counter-movement jump height, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (IR1) distance as primary predictor variables, the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) assessed the relative quality of four penalised logistic regression models for determining future competitive international squads U17-U20 level selection. The model including Yo-Yo IR1 was the best for predicting career outcome. Predicted probabilities of future selection to the international squad increased with higher Yo-Yo IR1 distances, from 4.5% (95% confidence interval, 0.8 to 8.2%) for a distance lower than 440 m to 64.7% (95% confidence interval, 47.3 to 82.1%) for a score of 2040 m. The present study highlights the predictive utility of high-intensity endurance capacity for informing career progression in elite youth female soccer and provides reference values for staff involved in the talent development of elite youth female soccer players.
- talent selection
- fitness testing
- penalised logistic regression
- retrospective analysis