National Recognition of FC Wisconsin Health, Safety, and Performance Platform

Data and Conclusions Raise the Bar for Youth Soccer

FC Wisconsin has one of the most progressive and advanced Player Health, Safety, and Performance Platforms in youth sports in the United States.  This platform, the resources supporting it, and the information generated by it are being recognized in national medical and academic publications – showing the cutting edge work being done in the club and by its partners.

The FC Wisconsin Player Health, Safety, and Performance Platform combines pre- and post-season fitness testing along with in-season heart rate monitoring and daily subjective monitoring of training load, well-being, injuries, and illnesses.  This wide variety of data, and its depth and frequency of collection, have allowed an unprecedented evaluation of the factors that influence performance and health of female youth athletes, and allowed impactful real-time interventions to reduce risk and maximize development.

Below are multiple areas where the FC Wisconsin Player Health, Safety, and Performance Platform has already generated significant new data and information that will not only help the club’s players, but will ultimately help players across the country:

  • Training Load, Injury and Illness.  We have gained a better understand of the interactions of training load (the length and physical load of a session) and well-being (sleep and recovery time) on injury and illness.  This information has culminated in a recent publication demonstrating that both training load and psychologic well-being influence injury and illness risk (  In addition, we have found that fatigue and soreness influence injury on hard days, but not on days with light or moderate training loads. 

  • Pre-Season Fitness.  We have quantitatively identified pre-season fitness as a key mediator of injury and illness risk during the season. While it has previously been suggested that athletes with higher levels of fitness have a decreased risk of in-season injury, we have found that they also appear to have a decreased risk of in-season illness. 

  • Sleep.  We have identified the importance of proper sleep in young athletes. In addition to being protective of injury and illness, higher levels of sleep appear to reduce soreness and to improve fatigue, mood, and stress after all intensities of training.  This finding reinforces the value of sleep in young athletes to help reduce the risk of injuries and illnesses, but also highlights how incredibly important sleep is in promoting psychological well-being and influencing all aspects of athlete’s lives.

By measuring, monitoring, and integrating this information, the FC Wisconsin Player Health, Safety, and Performance Platform is able to modify the club’s training loads in real-time to promote health and reduce injury and illness risk during the rigorous ECNL season.  While we cannot know exactly how much we are able to reduce risk with this approach, we have made one clear conclusion:

In the last 18 months our club has had an injury rate 40-50% lower than previously reported in adolescent female soccer players.

In addition, through implementation of the Platform over multiple years, this fall we have even seen a 24% drop in injuries compared to last fall

The FC Wisconsin Player Health, Safety, and Performance Platform represents an unprecedented level of commitment to youth athlete health and development, and is only possible through a truly collaborative effort and prioritization of proper long-term, player-centric development at FCW. 

We would like to thank Dr. Andrew Watson for his leadership and research in this platform and his unwavering commitment to raising standards in youth development, and physical therapist and FC Wisconsin Sports Medicine Consultant Calvin Deutsch for his work caring for athletes in the rehab process and beyond.  The FC Wisconsin Player Health, Safety, and Performance Platform is only possible through the collaboration of experts in multiple fields with one goal in mind – making youth soccer better.


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