Relative Age Effect
Play • 25 min



One of the biggest disparities in football or any junior sport is the relative age effect - the advantage of being born earlier in the school year, and therefore being more physically mature.

A seven-year-old born early in the school year is likely to be bigger, faster and stronger than one born towards the end of the school year.

In 2013, a study of a junior league in England with 8,000 players found that the oldest players were playing in the top division, whilst the youngest players were playing in the lowest division. It was also found that 45% of players in top-level academies have players born between September and November.

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