Relative age effects and the youth-to-senior transition in Italian soccer: the underdog hypothesis versus knock-on effects of relative age

Morganti, Gabriele and Kelly, Adam L. and Apollaro, Gennaro and Pantanella, Laura and Esposito, Mario and Grossi, Alberto and Ruscello, Bruno (2022) Relative age effects and the youth-to-senior transition in Italian soccer: the underdog hypothesis versus knock-on effects of relative age. Science and Medicine in Football. ISSN 2473-3938

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Abstract

Relative Age Effects (RAEs) appear largely throughout youth soccer. However, little is known about how RAEs at youth levels can impact transition at senior levels. Accordingly, this study aimed to : (a) provide further test of RAEs by exploring the birth quarter (BQ) distribution of 2,030 Italian players born from 1975 to 2001 who have played in any of the Youth National Italian Soccer Teams ; and (b) investigate how RAEs influence future career outcomes, by exploring the BQ distribution of players who completed the transition from youth squads to the Senior National Team (n = 182)    Chi-square statistics revealed significantly skewed BQ distributions for all Youth squads (P values <0.0001), and for the cohort of players who completed the transition (P = 0.003). In contrast, results from the Odds Ratios highlighted how BQ4s were more likely to transition from youth-to-senior compared to BQ1s . Results showed BQ1s remained overrepresented at senior level due to a residual bias effect. Whereas BQ4s who were able to overcome selection processes at youth levels recorded the highest likelihood of competing at senior levels. Involving players’ career trajectories in RAEs studies is needed to understand how RAEs impacts career outcomes of early selected players.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/24733938.2022.2125170
Dates:
DateEvent
10 September 2022Accepted
14 September 2022Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: talent identification; talent selection; relative age effect; expertise; youth soccer; athlete development
Subjects: CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-02 - sport and exercise sciences > CAH03-02-01 - sport and exercise sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Life and Sport Sciences (C-LASS)
Depositing User: Adam Kelly
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2022 10:16
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2022 10:16
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13628

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