Fully Funded PhD: Talent identification of international youth male soccer players and the influence of growth and maturation

  • DeadlineDeadline: 15 July 2024.
  • North West, All EnglandNorth West, All England


Talent identification is multifaceted and scientific research that provides evidence-informed information to key stakeholders (coaches, practitioners, scouts) to support their decisions regarding player identification, development, selection, and retention is emerging. A key area influencing talent identification is growth and maturation.

In collaboration with the Football Association of Wales and Manchester Metropolitan University, an opportunity for a 3-year PhD studentship embedded within the youth male national team of Wales is available. The PhD studentship will focus on collecting data relating to growth, maturation, and talent identification to support the youth national coaching and sport science staff.

The successful candidate will develop audits of the current scientific information on growth, maturation, and talent identification that are used to inform key stakeholder decisions. The candidate will also develop and validate new tests that aim to provide information on the multi-disciplinary performance skills of elite youth soccer players. The candidate will be responsible for all aspects of the research project, from data collection to publication.


The aim is to better understand growth, maturation, and talent identification processes within youth male soccer in an international development programme.

The objectives of the project are:

  • Evaluate the current scientific evidence around growth and maturation and talent identification in youth male soccer players
  • Investigate how multi-disciplinary performance changes in relation to age and maturity status in youth male soccer players

Entry Requirements

  • A first-class or upper second-class (2:1) degree (or equivalent) in Sports Science, Physiology, Medicine, Psychology, Performance Analysis, Coaching, or other Sports related degree.
  • An ability to critique and analyse scientific evidence, methodology and data.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and organisational skills.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office, specifically Excel.
  • Experience working in soccer (roles such as sport scientist, physiologist, strength and conditioning coach).
  • MSc or research masters in sports science, psychology, strength and conditioning or other sports-related degree.
  • Sports science, strength and condition or sports medicine accreditation (such as BASES, ASCC, or CSCS).
  • Proficient at conducting sport science testing including fitness, psychological and profiling assessments.
  • Competent with programming/coding software (such as R or Python).


This is a full-time, funded PhD opportunity in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. It is open to both home and overseas students. Please note that only home fees will be covered - eligible overseas students will need to make up the difference in tuition fee funding.

This opportunity provides an annual stipend of the research council minimum rate (set by UKRI) of £19,237 for 2024/25.

How To Apply

Interested applicants should contact Dr Matthew Andrew ( for an informal discussion.

To apply you will need to complete the online application form for a full-time PhD in Sport and Exercise Science (or download the PGR application form).

You should also complete a CV (candidate’s choice of standard or Narrative CV) with a cover letter, addressing the project’s aims and objectives, demonstrating how the skills you have maps to the area of research and why you see this area as being of importance and interest. 

If applying online, you will need to upload your statement in the supporting documents section or email the application form and statement to

Closing date: 15 July 2024

Expected start date: October 2024

Please quote the reference: SciEng-MA-2024-FAW-Boys

Who is eligible to apply?

Open to both home and overseas students. Please note that only home fees will be covered - eligible overseas students will need to make up the difference in tuition fee funding.

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