BACKGROUND: Soccer is a sport that requires players to have a well-developed aerobic system, yet during the course of a season, it is not uncommon for players’ aerobic capacity to change either positively and/or even negatively. Unfortunately, limited research has been conducted that has evaluated changes in VO2max values for soccer players during the course of a season. Having an understanding in how VO2 values may change gives coaches the opportunity to anticipate potential changes and attempt to reduce the severity of decline. Purpose: To assess potential changes in VO2max from preseason to postseason in NCAA DIII soccer players. METHODS: Twelve NCAA DIII soccer players completed a max GXT treadmill protocol within seven days of the start (ie. Preseason = PRE) and finish (ie. Post = PST) of their playing season. Values such as VO2max, time to exhaustion (TTE), HRmax, ventilatory threshold (VT), Ratings of Perceived Exertion, and Body Fat Percentage (BF) were compared for the PRE and PST trials with significant differences occurring with an alpha level of p < 0.05. RESULTS: Significant differences occurred between PRE and PST HRmax (191.4 + 8.3 bts/min vs 193.2 + 7.3 bts/min, p = 0.001), TTE (790.08 + 48.35 secs vs 768.92 + 77.82 secs, p = 0.041), and BF (12.37 + 4.90% vs 13.85 + 3.93%). However, no significant differences occurred between PRE and PST values of VO2max (55.47 + 4.09 ml/kg/min vs 51.68 + 4.93 ml/kg/min), VT (72.42 + 6.30% vs 70.67 + 3.84%), and RPE (19.3 + 1.1 vs 18.8 + 2.9). CONCLUSION: While there were no significant differences in VO2max from PRE to PST, there was a mean decline of 7.4% and TTE was significantly slower. Also, 7 out of 12 players had a reduction in their VO2max values. The results of this study suggest that these athletes may have aerobically deconditioned during the season. Future studies should assess the various changes of aerobic capacity not just pre and post season, but also throughout the calendar year, including pre and post spring season soccer playing, in order to have a clearer understanding of how aerobic capacity may change during collegiate soccer player’s year to year seasons (ie. freshmen to sophomore, etc.) which may help to determine what can be done to plan for these potential declines or at least reduce the severity of them.

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