PURPOSE: To inform the energy requirements of highly trained adolescent soccer players, total energy expenditure (TEE) was quantified in academy soccer players from the English Premier League (EPL).
METHODS: Twenty-four male adolescent soccer players from an EPL academy (n=8 U12/13; n=8 U15; n=8 U18) were assessed for baseline maturity (maturity offset), body composition (DXA) and resting metabolic rate (RMR; indirect calorimetry). Subsequently, TEE, energy intake (EI) and physical loading patterns were assessed over a 14-day in-season period using doubly labelled water, the remote food photographic method and global positioning system technology, respectively.
RESULTS: Under-18 players presented with greater RMR (2236±93 kcal⋅day) and TEE (3586±487 kcal⋅day; range: 2542-5172 kcal⋅day) than both U15 (2023±162 and 3029±262 kcal⋅day, respectively; TEE range: 2738-3726 kcal⋅day) and U12/13 players (1892±211 and 2859±265 kcal⋅day, respectively; TEE range: 2275-3903 kcal⋅day) (all P<0.01), though no difference in TEE was apparent between the U12/13 and U15 age-groups. Fat-free mass was significantly different between all comparisons in a hierarchal manner (U18: 57.2±6.1 kg > U15: 42.9±5.8 kg > U12/13: 31.1±3.5 kg; all P<0.01). Within age-groups, no differences were apparent between EI and TEE (U12/13: -29±277 kcal⋅day, P=0.78; U15: -134±327 kcal⋅day, P=0.28; U18: -243±724 kcal⋅day, P=0.37), whilst U18 players (3180±279 kcal⋅day) reported higher EI than both U15 (2821±338 kcal⋅day; P=0.05) and U12/13 players (2659±187 kcal⋅day; P<0.01).
CONCLUSION: The TEE of male academy soccer players progressively increase as players progress through the academy age-groups. In some individuals (evident in all age-groups), TEE was greater than that previously observed in adult EPL soccer players.