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Team Sport Research

DSER Staff: Professor Paul Potrac, Dr Thomas Jones, Dr Kevin Thomas, Dr Stuart Goodall, Professor Glyn Howatson, Dr Penny Rumbold, Dr Mick Wilkinson, Dr Marc Briggs,  

Collaborators: The Football Association, UEFA, Queens Park Rangers FC, AFC Sunderland, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Newcastle United FC, and Newcastle Falcons, Dr Jamie Tallent (St Mary’s University) Dr Tom Clifford (Loughborough University).  

Funding: UEFA, Newcastle United FC, Queens park Rangers FC. 

Work in this area is established on a long history of partnerships with professional team sports and governing bodies. This research serves to support science and medicine teams in the service of their athletes. There are particular strengths in understanding the physiological stressors imposed by team sport training and competition and the use of interventions to manage the recovery of function.  

Newcastle United 

We have a strong working relationship with Newcastle United Football Club.  In addition to many placements for undergraduate and postgraduate students, we have specific ongoing doctoral research projects. Previous and current research with the club focus on numerous areas of human performance that affect the academy and senior club players. 

A good deal of this work conducted with doctoral students embedded in the club has been to understand the physiological stress imposed by elite football and how this can be quantified. Other areas of football related research have focused on understanding recovery with Callum Brownstein and most recently, other courses of research has investigated nutritional interventions for metabolic health in academy players.  The most recent additions to this suite of applied research are with doctoral work with the 1st team in the area of performance analysis and another examining injury recovery as part of the medical support 


In recent years we have received funding from the UEFA Research Grant programme.  Specifically, in 2015, from the 52 applications received amongst 25 different UEFA member associations, Dr Kevin Thomas’ application titled ‘Optimising player performance and readiness to train: Fatigue and recovery of neuromuscular function following football match-play’ was one of six projects chosen. Briefly, the investigation studied the fatigue that manifests during a simulated soccer match play and reported how long players take to recover. 

A full report of this investigation can be found on page 8 of the October 2016 publication UEFA Direct. By encouraging cooperation between the national associations and the academic community, UEFA hopes to help get research projects off the ground that the associations can then use in order to further develop their own activities and projects. In addition to this work there are a number of works that have examined numerous aspects of football performance - a sample of which are presented below: 

Brownstein, C. G., Dent, J. P., Parker, P., Hicks, K. M., Howatson, G., Goodall, S., & Thomas, K. (2017). Etiology and recovery of neuromuscular fatigue following competitive soccer match-play. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 831.

Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Harper, L. D., Hunter, R., Parker, P., Stevenson, E., ... & Howatson, G. (2017). The assessment of neuromuscular fatigue during 120 min of simulated soccer exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117(4), 687-697.

Thomas, K., Dent, J., Howatson, G., & Goodall, S. (2017). Etiology and recovery of neuromuscular fatigue following simulated soccer match-play. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49(5), 955-964.

Hodgson, C., Akenhead, R., & Thomas, K. (2014). Time-motion analysis of acceleration demands of 4v4 small-sided soccer games played on different pitch sizes. Human Movement Science, 33, 25-32.

Fitzpatrick, J. F., Hicks, K. M., & Hayes, P. R. (2018). Dose-Response Relationship between Training Load and Changes in Aerobic Fitness in Professional Youth Soccer Players. International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance, 1-22.



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