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About the group

The Football Science and Performance Research Group emerges out of the BSc (Hons) Football Studies and MSc Football Science courses. One of the core objectives of this group is to identify and develop real-world research that is relevant within the dynamic football industry domain.

Group shot of the members of the football science and performance research group

The Football Science and Performance Research Group aims to align each individual staff strengths, to produce contemporary research. We employ a collaborative approach to the development of research opportunities and projects, involving members of staff across our Football provision.

One of our targets is to enable and support staff to publish relevant research as first author and develop collaborative networks to produce research-related activities, including publications, funding applications and provision of relevant workshops/symposiums, and to host an annual conference focused on the latest research in football science.

This will create a database of relevant research to course development and underpins our research led teaching approach, providing first-hand research to Solent University stakeholders. The published research will align to Solent’s Human Function and Health, and Social Research and Policy research themes.

Each key theme is also relevant to the curriculum, providing opportunities for students’ development through research (eg, to investigate relative age effect and biobanding, as part of the contents for Elite Youth Development; and the constraint-led approach for Applied Coaching in Football). We seek to include students in the different themes, as per individual preferences and under specialised staff guidance. The aim being to introduce and develop understanding of research, which may include joint publication with students, placing them at the forefront of employability upon completion of their degrees, and potentially the attainment of postgraduate opportunities.

Regarding the community, we will work collaboratively with other areas and disciplines within Solent University to strengthen the long relationship with Southampton Football Club, by providing new opportunities to contemporary research, relevant to their academy and aligned with the Club’s ethos - in particular, the development of research based on ecological dynamics. This is a strength of Solent University football staff, that aims to create research projects through funding opportunities, bridging the need for Southampton FC’s coaching staff with Solent’s lecturing team, and increasing the visibility of our own team into the sports science scientific community.

We will provide opportunities for staff to develop their own research ideas, collaborating with other UK universities, and potentially creating international links with work placements and staff visits, to increase Solent’s visibility worldwide and recruit new international students.

External partners

  • Southampton Football Club
  • Professional Football Scouts Association
  • Hampshire Football Association
  • Professional Football Clubs – English Football League
  • Marshall Islands Football Association
  • England Futsal

Current projects

  • Performance Demands in Ball Possession small-sided games: Effects of Age, Unbalanced Number, Playing Area Dimension and Gender
  • Coaches’ and Players’ perceptions of the performance of small-sided game
  • Long-Term Periodisation of Game-Related Activities
  • Evaluation of The Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP)
  • Analysis of the Post-16 Football Academies
  • Women in Football: the “lone wolf”
  • “The Chat Club” implications to Higher Education
  • Set pieces performance analysis of international football competitions
  • Relative Age Effects on different geographics
  • Supporting the development of female students as future leaders in football
  • Solent Futsal Series
  • Attribution Retraining in Sport: a pilot study with Solent University Futsal
  • Testing the validity of 360° footage for visual-perceptual training of goalkeepers during penalty kick
  • Research into the difference between male and female footballers' psychological experiences and access

Postgraduate areas

  • Constraints manipulation in the training environment
  • Relative age effect on football performance
  • Bio-banding and skill-banding
  • Football periodisation
  • Long-term player development
  • Coaching and players perceptions on training environment
  • Key performance indicators for performance analysis
  • Female coaching pathway – barriers and challenges to development
  • Female participation in football
  • Futsal development in England
  • The impact of the post-16 football development programs to education and work progression

Research group members

Group leads

Dr Nuno Andre Nunes
Senior Lecturer, Football Coaching
Pure profile


  • Ecological dynamics to the coaching process
  • Constraints manipulation and performance impact
  • Relative age effects and biobanding
  • Player performance profiling
  • Long-term player development
  • Futsal development in England

Kevin Braybrook
Course Leader, BSc Football Studies and MSc Football Science
Pure profile


  • Football coaching
  • High performance
  • Talent identification
  • Scouting and recruitment
  • Coach education
  • Women in coaching
  • Coach pathways
  • Challenges and misogyny experienced through female lens

Core members

Dr Rory Magrath
Associate Professor Sociology
Pure profile


  • Football/sport and gender inequality
  • Football/sport and sexuality
  • Athlete activism
  • Football/sport and masculinities
  • Football/sport and concussion

Dr Martin Corsie
Lecturer, Performance Analysis
Pure profile


  • Collective behaviour metrics
  • Prediction models
  • Performance analysis
  • Player profiling
  • Social network analysis
  • GPS

Gavin Comber
Lecturer, Football Coaching
Pure profile


  • Talent development
  • Birth date and place effects
  • Coaching behaviours
  • Game-based approaches
  • Training and match demands

Chris Neville
Senior Lecturer, Football Science
Pure profile


  • Physical parameters in football (men and women)
  • Player profiling
  • Goalkeeper specific training methodologies
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Late-stage rehabilitation in football

Dr Kim Wilcox
Lecturer, Football
Pure profile


  • Sport/football development
  • Sport/football for development
  • Sport/football programme evaluation
  • Volunteerism
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Post-compulsory education
  • Employability

Dr Russell Discombe
Lecturer, Sports Psychology
Pure profile


  • Virtual reality
  • Simulated environments
  • Psychological profiling
  • Emotional regulation strategies
  • Pre-performance routines
  • Mental skills training

Dr Kola Adeosun
Senior Lecturer, Sports Education and Development
Pure profile


  • Football and geo-politics
  • Race and racism in football
  • Migration, social issues, football and development
  • Colonialism and African football
  • Mega-events

Dr David Webber
Senior Research Fellow
Pure profile


  • Football finance, politics, and governance
  • Football history
  • Social issues and fan behaviour
  • The democratisation of football
  • Supporter ownership
  • Football, the environment and climate change.

Dr James Wright
Senior Lecturer, Sport Science and Performance
Pure profile


  • Physiological testing and training
  • Physiological profiling
  • Reliability and validity of testing protocols and equipment

Tom Doncom
Lecturer, Sports Psychology
Pure profile


  • Psychology of football performance
  • Attribution retraining in football
  • Social identity in football
  • Social support in football
  • Motivation/motivational climates in football
  • Coach/athlete/parent relationships in football

Dr Lee Bridgeman
Lecturer, Sport Science and Performance
Pure profile


  • Eccentric testing and training
  • GPS and other microtech
  • Blood flow restriction
  • Physiology
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Field- and lab-based testing
  • Recovery techniques

Get in touch

Please contact Nuno Nunes if you would like to find out more about this group, or if you would like to join us - all staff and students are welcome.

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