Profile of high-performing college soccer teams: An exploratory multi-level analysis

Filho, Edson orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8548-4651, Gershgoren, Lael, Basevitch, Itay and Tenenbaum, Gershon (2014) Profile of high-performing college soccer teams: An exploratory multi-level analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15 (5). pp. 559-568. ISSN 1469-0292

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Purpose: To determine the profile of high-performing college soccer teams through the use of exploratory hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) based on a socio-cognitive approach.
Design and Measures: A correlational design was employed in this study. The sample consisted of 340 college soccer players of both genders (178 female and 162 male), representing 17 different teams (8 female and 9 male) ranked in the top-32 of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Numerous demographic and soccer-related variables represented level-1 in the HLM model. Group Environment Questionnaire and Team Assessment Diagnostic Measure were entered as level-2 variables, representing cohesion and team mental models, respectively. Perceived performance potential (PPP) served as the dependent variable. Objective performance scores were correlated with PPP, attesting a moderate to high-level of criterion related validity (r = .78).
Results: The final model suggested that: (1) International athletes perceive their performance lower than others, (2) different field positions share different covariance coefficients with PPP, and (3) perception of social cohesion from a group, rather than individual, standpoint is positively associated with perceptions of team performance.
Conclusions: High performing teams have clearly defined task-related and team-related goals. Accordingly, social rather than task related factors may represent a competitive edge, further energizing the interactions and performance of top-ranked teams. International athletes perceive team performance lower than locals, perhaps due to differences in preferred game-style and acculturation experiences. Players from different field positions (i.e., goalkeepers, defensive, and offensive players) relate differently to team performance in college soccer.

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