Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/32297
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: "He's Just a Wee Laddie": The Relative Age Effect in Male Scottish Soccer
Author(s): Dugdale, James H
McRobert, Allistair P
Unnithan, Viswanath B
Keywords: RAE
adolescent
football
talent identification
development
selection
recruitment
Scotland
Issue Date: 2021
Date Deposited: 19-Feb-2021
Citation: Dugdale JH, McRobert AP & Unnithan VB (2021) "He's Just a Wee Laddie": The Relative Age Effect in Male Scottish Soccer. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Art. No.: 633469. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.633469
Abstract: Significant structural, developmental, and financial constraints exist in Scottish soccer that may predicate a different approach to talent identification and development. To our knowledge, no published reports exist evaluating the prevalence of the relative age effect (RAE) in Scottish soccer players. Consequently, the aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of the RAE among varied playing levels and ages of male Scottish youth soccer players. Birthdates of male youth players (n = 1,230) from U10 to U17 age groups and from playing levels: “Amateur” (n = 482), “Development” (n = 214), and “Performance” (n = 534), alongside a group of male Scottish senior professional players (n = 261) were recorded and categorized into quartiles (Q1 = January–March; Q2 = April–June; Q3 = July–September; and Q4 = October–December) and semesters (S1 = January–June and S2 = July–December) from the start of the selection year. Birthdates were analyzed for: (a) each playing level and (b) each age group irrespective of playing level. For the varied playing levels examined, an RAE was evident in “Development” and “Performance” playing levels only at youth level. When examining each age group, an RAE was observed in U12–U17 players only. While there was a slight asymmetry favoring Q1 born senior professional players, the RAE was not present within this group of our sample. Results from our study suggest that a bias in selecting individuals born earlier in the selection year may exist within male soccer academy structures, but not at amateur level. The asymmetry favoring chronologically older players at youth but not professional level questions the efficacy of this (un)conscious bias within male Scottish soccer players.
DOI Link: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.633469
Rights: © 2021 Dugdale, McRobert and Unnithan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Licence URL(s): http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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