Physical Demands of Costa Rican Professional Soccer Players: Influence of the Playing Position and the Competitive Level

Keywords: soccer, competitive level, playing positions, GPS, kinematic variables


Monitoring physical demands during soccer matches with GPS technologies provides valuable information that can be used to enhance sports performance. Therefore, this study aimed to know Costa Rican professional soccer players' physical demands and analyze the influence of the playing position and the competitive level during matches. Sixty male soccer players, 50 from the first division of Costa Rican soccer and 10 from an absolute national CONCACAF (SAC) team were monitored with a Global Positioning System (GPS) to quantify kinematic variables such as distance traveled (m), total and different intensities (Z 1-5), maximum speed (km/h), total impacts (g), accelerations (m / s) and decelerations (m/s). The game positions were categorized into defenses (Def), midfielders (Mid) and forward (For), and the competitive level in a) SAC, b) Elite level teams (ENE), and c) Sub-elite level teams (ENS). The results reflected significant differences regarding the competitive level in the distance traveled at different intensities Z1 (SAC >ENS >ENE), Z2 (ENE >SAC >ENS) and Z4 (ENE >SAC >ENS), in accelerations (SAC >ENE >ENS), and in decelerations (SAC >ENS >ENE). By game positions, the differences were in the total distance (Mid >Def >For), in the distance traveled in Z2 (Mid >Def >For) and Z3 (Mid >Def >For), as well as in total impacts (Mid >Def >For). It is concluded that the competitive level influences the physical demands. SAC registered more accelerations and decelerations, and ENE traveled a greater distance with moderate and intense efforts. There were differences between playing positions; midfielder traveled longer distances and recorded more impacts.

Author Biographies

Roy Morera-Barrantes, Universidad Nacional

Escuela Ciencias del Movimiento Humano y Calidad de Vida, Centro de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Salud y Deporte (CIDISAD)

Carlos Calderón-Chaverri, Universidad Nacional

Escuela Ciencias del Movimiento Humano y Calidad de Vida, Centro de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Salud y Deporte (CIDISAD)

Randall Gutiérrez-Vargas, Universidad Nacional

Escuela Ciencias del Movimiento Humano y Calidad de Vida, Centro de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Salud y Deporte (CIDISAD)

Daniel Rojas-Valverde, Universidad Nacional

Escuela Ciencias del Movimiento Humano y Calidad de Vida, Centro de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Salud y Deporte (CIDISAD)

Juan Carlos Gutiérrez-Vargas, Universidad Nacional

Escuela de Ciencias del Movimiento Humano y Calidad de Vida, Centro de Desarrollo y Recuperación de la Salud (CEDERSA)

Jose Alexis Ugalde Ramìrez, Universidad Nacional

Escuela Ciencias del Movimiento Humano y Calidad de Vida, Centro de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Salud y Deporte (CIDISAD)


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How to Cite
Morera-Barrantes, R., Calderón-Chaverri, C., Gutiérrez-Vargas, R., Rojas-Valverde, D., Gutiérrez-Vargas, J. C., & Ugalde Ramìrez, J. A. (2021). Physical Demands of Costa Rican Professional Soccer Players: Influence of the Playing Position and the Competitive Level. MHSalud: Revista En Ciencias Del Movimiento Humano Y Salud, 18(2), 1-15.

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