Messi & Marta – Do Women Football Stars Solve Match Situations Differently?

8 Mar, 2023 •

Messi & Marta – Do Women Football Stars Solve Match Situations Differently?

BrainsFirst Launches Global Women Football Brain Index Project

Today, BrainsFirst announced the launch of the Global Women’s Football Brain Index-project, ahead of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. The project is aimed at evaluating the cognitive abilities of female elite football players across the world and providing insights into the role of the brain in identifying and nurturing female football brains. “We expect to see a lot of similarities compared to our existing Football Brain Index. However, in elite sports it’s frequently the small differences that matter,” reports BrainsFirst founder Eric Castien.

Following the success of the Men’s Global Football Brain Index introduced in 2019, BrainsFirst decided to extend its longitudinal research to female football players. The project uses the latest neuroscience and AI technologies to assess cognitive abilities such as decision-making, attention, and spatial awareness.

The Global Women’s Football Brain Index will provide valuable insights into the cognitive abilities of female football players and how they relate to performance on the field. The project will also offer comparative data on male and female football players’ cognitive abilities, allowing for a better understanding of gender differences in football.

“The launch of the Global Women’s Football Brain Index is an important milestone for BrainsFirst,” says Castien. “Traditional methods of evaluating football talent systematically underestimate the performance of female players, because of their over-dependence on physical development. We‘ve seen that cognitive abilities play a crucial role in elite football performance. Even in male football hidden talents are overlooked in the youth because of physical underperformance and this gets worse with female players. But those tinier youngsters probably have much more powerful football brains. Both Messi and his female peer Marta are one of the smallest and smartest players on the field. We help clubs and associations to evaluate talents more fairly by taking a look under the hood. Today we introduce this inclusive way of talent assessment into women’s football, too.”

BrainsFirst started its research in global elite football in 2013. Neuroscientists Ilja Sligte and Andries van der Leij accomplished their mission to link brain functions to field performance thanks to the participation of clubs like AZ Alkmaar, PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord from Eredivisie, clubs in Premier League, Bundesliga, Jupiler League, and Primera Division, and both the Dutch and Belgian FA. Today over 50 elite clubs use BrainsFirst in their talent identification process.

The first version of the Global Women Football Brain Index will be launched during the FIFA Women’s  World Cup, which takes place from 20 July to 20 August 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. The project will involve the participation of elite football clubs and federal associations to assess female football players from across the world, providing a comprehensive view of the cognitive abilities of female football players.

Business Development Director Jens Urlbauer adds: “Identifying and developing talent is key to the success of any football club, and this is especially true for women’s football. As the sport continues to grow and gain more recognition, it is important that we invest in talent identification programs to ensure that we are not missing out on talented female players who could become the stars of tomorrow.”

For more information on the Global Women Football Brain Index, visit the BrainsFirst website or contact the BrainsFirst press office. Read more about our sports solutions here.

Eric Castien – Founder