Variance In Prominence Levels and in Patterns of Passing Sequences in Elite and Youth Soccer Players: A Network Approach

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Bruno Mendes, Filipe Manuel Clemente, Nuno Mauricio

The aim of this study was to quantify the prominence levels of elite and highly competitive young soccer players. This study also analyzed the variation in general network properties at different competitive levels and periods of the season. A total of 132 matches, played by 28 teams during the 2015/2016 season, were analyzed. The results revealed significant differences in the composition of general network measures considering the competitive level (p = 0.002; ES = 0.077) and according to the location of the match (p = 0.001; ES = 0.147). There were positive correlations between network density and the final score (ρ = 0.172) and negative correlations between network density and goals conceded (ρ = – 0.300). Significant differences in the composite of centralities were found between positions (p = 0.001; ES = 0.293; moderate effect) and the location of the match (p = 0.001; ES = 0.013; no effect). This revealed that the general properties of cooperation increased with the competitive level, improved during the middle of the season and were better in home matches. Midfielders were most prominent players in elite and U19 teams in the mid-season and central defenders had the most prominent centralities in U17 and U15 during the early and late periods of the season.
DOI: 10.1515/hukin-2017-0117
Key words
applied mathematics, graph theory, soccer, match analysis

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