International Journal of Exercise Science 14(6): 1192-1203, 2021. The priority for soccer academies is to develop youth players that graduate and transfer directly to their senior squads. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of this direct youth-to-senior pathway by examining the extent to which club-trained players (CTPs) are currently involved in elite male European soccer. Relevant demographic longitudinal studies between 2009 and 2020 conducted by the International Centre for Sports Studies Football Observatory were analysed. The main findings were that the proportion of CTPs in senior squads has decreased from 23% to 17% over this time period, while the proportion of expatriates (EXPs) has increased from 35% to 42%. Moreover, clubs resorted more frequently to making new signings (NS, i.e. association-trained players (ATPs) and/or EXPs), with squad proportion increasing from 37% to 44%, while only launching one debutant (DBT, i.e. CTP with no previous senior experience) on average per season. Similar trends are observed in the evolution of playing time: while the fielding of CTPs remained constant (15%), EXPs and NS are fielded increasingly more (49% and 36%, respectively), despite a positive relationship between CTP match fielding and league ranking, with a Spearman Rank correlation r = 0.712 (95% confidence interval [0.381-0.881]), p < 0.01. In conclusion, young talents are still provided opportunities; however, these are limited and increasingly less frequent at their parent clubs. This potentially suggests a dysfunctional direct youth-to-senior development pathway.
Carpels, Thomas; Scobie, Nairn; MacFarlane, Niall G.; and Kemi, Ole J.
"Youth-to-Senior Transition in Elite European Club Soccer,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 14
6, Pages 1192 - 1203.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol14/iss6/14