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Background: Jumps are predominant components in football (soccer). Interlimb functional difference in single-leg jump performance is a risk factor for lower extremities injuries. Screening uninjured athletes is essential to design prevention strategies and implement individual training interventions. The aims of this cross-sectional study were (1) to provide age-specific mean values and limb symmetry index (LSI) in young football players, (2) to detect age effect on LSI and interlimb functional differences and (3) to investigate the association of age with single-leg functional performance and LSI.Methods: A total of 146 male football players (age 14.2± 2.3) performed the countermovement jump, jump for distance, side hop and speedy jump tests. Descriptive statistics, mean values (dominant/non-dominant) and LSI were provided according to age groups (U11–U19). Two-way mixed analysisof variance (ANOVA), one-way ANOVA and Pearson’s correlation were used for the statistical analysis.Results: Participants showed on average perfect LSI (103.8± 14.2%) amongst all tests and age groups. Interlimb functional differences occurred in three out of four tests (p<0.05), without age interaction (p>0.05). Age effect was positively associated with single-leg functional performance (p<0.05), but not with LSI (p>0.05), in all tests and age groups.Conclusion: An LSI ≥100% in single-leg jump tests is proposed as a benchmark in young football players, but interlimb performance differences may occur without age interaction. Nevertheless, the growth process plays a crucial role in the development of functional capacities: older players may show a higher single-leg jump performance, but not a higher LSI, than younger players. In football practice, preventive intervention is advisable to counteract interlimb performance differences, for which unilateral strength, power and plyometric training is recommended.
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