Pedro Reche-Soto, Donaldo Cardona-Nieto, Arturo Diaz-Suarez, Alejandro Bastida-Castillo, Carlos Gomez-Carmona, Javier Garcia-Rubio and Jose Pino-Ortega
There has recently been an increase in quantification and objective analysis of soccer performance due to improvements in technology using load indexes such as Player Load (PL) and Metabolic Power (MP). The objectives of this study were: (1) to describe the performance of PL and MP in competition according to the specific role, match‐to‐ match variation, periods of play, game location and match status according to game periods, and (2) to analyze the relationship between both indexes. Twenty‐one national‐level soccer players were distributed in the following specific positional roles: external defenders (ED) (n = 4), central defenders (CD) (n = 4), midfielders (M) (n = 5), external midfielders (EM) (n = 4) and attackers (A) (n = 4). A total of 12 matches played by a Spanish Third Division team during the 2016/2017 season were analyzed. WIMU PROTM inertial devices (RealTrack System, Almeria, Spain) were used for recording the data. The main results were: (1) a performance reduction in both variables over the course of match time, (2) significant differences in both variables based on the specific position, (3) differences in physical demands during the season matches, (4) winning during a game period and the condition of being the visitor team provoked higher demands, and (5) a high correlation between both variables in soccer. In conclusion, different contextual variables influence the external load demands; both indexes are related so they could be used for external load quantification, and it is necessary to analyze physical demands of the competition for a specific and individualized load design in training sessions.