Research directed at soccer has seen dramatic growth in the last decade. While published research on soccer has shown exponential growth, the proportion of articles addressing females is lagging behind research addressing males. The purpose of this paper is to explore how the literature on soccer, female soccer, and professional female soccer has changed over time.
The Web of Science (WoS) was queried for all “articles” about soccer and association football from 1970 to 2019. This set of records was then queried to collect subsets of papers about females, professional/elite, and female professional/elite. Each of these data subsets was then queried for a number of characteristics and topics. The results were submitted to bibliometric analysis.
WoS returned 16,822 “articles” about soccer from 1970 to 2019, 3242 of which addressed females. A total of 5924 “articles” about professional players was found, of which 919 had a female focus. Articles about anterior cruciate ligament injuries and concussion were the topics with the highest proportion of papers involving females. Articles directed at selective areas of training and performance were relatively infrequent. Prominent journals, authors, affiliations, and influential papers are presented.
A bibliometric analysis of the published research presents a high-level overview of trends in soccer research. Overall, studies about women accounted for around 20% of all soccer research and about 15% of studies on professional players. There were a number of topics where studies on females account for less than 10%-15% of the research on all professionals, and opens opportunities for future study.

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