Fixture Congestion has Minimal Impact on External Workloads in Collegiate Soccer Players Direct Original Research

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Gary Long
Kelly Freeland
Johnathan Hayes


Football, GPS, Performance


Introduction: Advances in GPS technology have allowed for the measurement of soccer players’ external workloads in competition. While short collegiate seasons with fixture congestion may pose challenges for sustained performance, no study has determined if objective measures of performance are impacted by game congestion in college soccer players.

Methods: External workload variables were measured using the Polar Team Pro™ GPS device (n=19 players). Data were normalized by minutes played to account for discrepancies in playing time. Paired samples T-test was used to determine if workloads were different between the first and second games of “double-header” weekends (n=14 games).

Results: In second games, sprints were significantly reduced compared to first games (0.49 ± 0.2 vs. 0.41 ± 0.1, p= 0.005), with decelerations tending to be lower (1.58 ± 0.4 vs. 1.43 ± 0.4, p= 0.06). However, there were no differences in total distance (133.3 ± 38.8 m vs. 129 ± 32.2 m, p= 0.54), high speed running (45.1 ± 13.1 vs. 47.7 ± 13.9 m, p= 0.26) and accelerations (1.5 ± 0.4 vs. 1.6 ± 0.4, p= 0.13) respectively.

Conclusions: We note a small but significant difference in sprint distance with fixture congestion, despite no reduction in total distance run, high-speed running, or accelerations. These findings are unexpected due to the high demands of match play and limited recovery time between games.

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