Based upon predictions derived from the Developmental Model of Sports Participation, we tested whether hours in domain-specific play (self-led activities) and practice (coach-led activities) during childhood (~5–12 year) in an elite group of youth soccer players from the UK (N = 144) were related to motivation. Independent analysis of three different age groups (Under 13, 15 and 17 year) did not show relations between play and practice activities during childhood and global measures of motivation. However, secondary analysis showed that when controlling for years in soccer, years in the UK Academy system were negatively related to global indices of self-determined motivation (SDI) and positively related to controlled motivation for the oldest players. Despite predictions, there was no evidence that play during childhood was positively related to more SDI. Prospective research is recommended to enable more robust conclusions about the role of early developmental practice activities, especially early specialisation in a high-performance system, on both skill and psychosocial development.