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Differences in external match load metrics between professional and semi-professional football players

Watson, Thomas (2022) Differences in external match load metrics between professional and semi-professional football players. Master of Science by Research (MScRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92623) (KAR id:92623)


This study aimed to investigate the differences in external match load between professional and semi-professional footballers, and also aimed to investigate whether periods of fixture congestion throughout the season had an effect on the external match load of players at either the professional or semi-professional level. This study consisted of data from 51 football players, 21 professional and 30 semi-professional footballers, playing in the 2019/2020 football season. The data collected was obtained via MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) devices, which measured the players’ total distance, high-speed distance, accelerations, decelerations and player load. Once the external match load data was quantified, a comparison between playing levels took place using a univariate ANOVA. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine if significant differences existed in external match load variables across player performance level (2 levels) and time of the season (3 levels) during periods of time when teams experienced fixture congestion. This study found that professional players travelled significantly greater distances in a 90 minute match (10.93 ± 2.46 vs 9.02 ± 1.56 km respectively; P<0.001). No differences in high-speed distance were observed between playing level (P=0.70), whereas semiprofessional players recorded significantly greater player load value than the professional players (88.6 ± 12.2 vs 68.8 ± 18.9% respectively; P<0.001). Periods of fixture congestion were not found to significantly affect any of the match load variables at either playing level despite the time of the season. In conclusion, neither playing level was found to exhibit a superior level of external match load. The other major finding of this thesis was that fixture congestion did not affect match load. Further research is required to quantify and compare the external match load at the non-elite professional and semi-professional level of football, as these levels of football are largely ignored in this field of literature.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Science by Research (MScRes))
Thesis advisor: Hopker, James
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92623
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Sports sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 15:38 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2022 04:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Watson, Thomas.

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