Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Sport Physiology and Performance

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Michael H. Stone

Committee Members

Matt L. Sams, Brad H. DeWeese, Satoshi Mizuguchi


The purpose of this dissertation is to shed light on the physical demands of women’s soccer at the NCAA division I college level. Though research does exists describing the physical demands of women’s soccer, the vast majority seeks to explain the physical demands association with the professional and international level. This dissertation sought to: 1) examine the physical demands of NCAA division I women’s soccer and 2) observe changes in physical demands of two NCAA division I women’s soccer players over a four-year career using a case study approach.

Study 1 examined the physical demands of twenty-three athlete from a single NCAA division I team using Global Positioning System devices during four competitive seasons. Total distance, high-speed running distance and sprinting distances were analyzed for comparison against previously established physical demands associated with higher standards of play as well as for positional differences. Differences were found regarding total distance covered between standards of play. However, more pronounced differences were identified between high-speed running activities and standard of play, with higher standards requiring greater demands for high-intensity activities. Additionally, attacking players were demonstrated to cover greater total distance and high-intensity distance compared to the other position groups.

Study 2 was a case study, observing seasonal variation in match physical demands of two high-level collegiate players during their 4-four college careers. Each player was tracked using GPS devices to record total distance, high-speed running distance and sprint distance. Seasonal variation in physical demands were found for each player, however, no consistent trends were found for both players. Interestingly, lower physical demands were identified during each player’s final season of play in comparison to all previous seasons, possibly demonstrating an increased tactical awareness resulting in improved playing efficiency. Nevertheless, future examination including additional data such as fitness testing results, tactical formations, and technical skill assessment are warranted.

With little research available detailing the physical demands of women’s soccer at the division I collegiate level, our findings will provide further insight into the physical demands required for division I female players. By understanding the specific physical demands associated with competitive matches, as well as various positions, coaches and sports scientists can be equipped with objective data unique to women’s college soccer at the NCAA division I level. Our findings will empower practitioners with valuable information necessary to guide more informed decision making with regard to training structure and prescription, to enhance performance and minimize injury risks.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.