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Soccer Training: Injury Prevention in Youth Soccer Players

Soccer Training: Injury Prevention in Youth Soccer Players

SoccerNationNews is pleased to announce our newest columnist Tom Cox.  This is his first article on player development and soccer training and focuses on the ability to perform high-intensity movements when on the field.

Every athlete regardless of sport is at risk of injuring themselves every time they step onto the field.  Usually sport injuries are thought of as “rare incidences”, or “unlucky” because of the circumstances and this is true in most cases.  No one can control what happens on the field and sometimes players come out of a collision on the wrong end and wind up injured because of it. 

However there is whole other category of injuries that should not be occurring as often as they are in youth sports.  Non-contact injuries are those that occur without any collision of force from another player. 

Typically a non-contact injury occurs when a player lands improperly, or changes directions with poor body mechanics and something anatomically goes wrong.  The most well known and most common non-contact injury is the ACL.  According to an article written in the New York Times:

 “The rate for (an ACL injury in) women’s soccer is 0.25 per 1,000, or 1 in 4,000, compared with 0.10 for male soccer players. The rate for women’s basketball is 0.24, more than three times the rate of 0.07 for the men. The ACL injury rate for girls may be higher — perhaps much higher — than it is for college-age women because of a spike that seems to occur as girls hit puberty.”

So why are young female athletes more prone to ACL injuries?  How do we reduce the risk of non-contact ACL injuries?  

The answer to that question will change depending on who you ask and the reason for that isn’t because there is no answer, it’s because there are so many right answers.  Every individual is different; every young athlete moves differently and has their own unique qualities which makes a generic answer useless.    

I personally think at these rates, there is nothing “unlucky” about a young female athlete suffering from a non-contact ACL injury. 

What’s unlucky, is that most athletes never become educated on the proper mechanics for running, jumping and cutting.  And when they finally do, it’s usually from their physical therapist during rehab.  

With the collaboration of Velocity Sports Performance San Diego, the excellent Doctors at Active Injury Prevention and Physiotherapy Associates, we are trying to educate athletes on the importance of proper training and how it can not only make you a better athlete, but also allow you play a longer career. 


Tom Cox is the Performance Director at Velocity Sports Performance in San Diego, CA. Cox received his Masters Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Strength and Conditioning. He has spent time as a strength coach with the Oakland Athletics and the University of San Diego where he worked training football, baseball, soccer and track athletes. He specializes in developing training programs for amateur, collegiate and professional athletes.

For more information visit Velocity Sports Performance or call 858-592-7766.

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