Press Release RBFA & BrainsFirst


Ravian Ruys

Gepubliceerd op

11 oktober 2022

28 september, 2022

RBFA & BrainsFirst kick-off ‘game intelligence’-project

Detecting football brains to find & educate the future stars.

The Royal Belgian Football Association, currently in the top ranks of global football, and the Amsterdam-based Sports-tech company BrainsFirst started their collaboration this summer with a focus on the identification and selection of the most promising football talents. The common goal is to make the process of talent identification & evaluation more fact-based, data-driven and scalable. This must help the federation to offer equal opportunity to all talents and spot young off-radar talents, too.

BrainsFirst offers its validated assessment platform, by combining gamification and cutting-edge neuroscience technology. Originated at the sidelines of Real Madrid & FC Barcelona and researched amongst 1100+ European pro players, BrainsFirst succeeded in decoding “game intelligence”. The company enables clients like RBFA to assess the football brain potential of a player. This kind of data is considered as a crucial piece of the overall talent puzzle. According to previous experience in The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the UK, applying BrainsFirst as an early-funnel player recruitment step leads to more justified admissions & rejections in selection.

Co-innovation to lead in the future

Karolien Lemmens, Health & Performance Coordinator, explains:
“We constantly look for relevant innovation and see cognitive data in respect to a very specific profile of a future professional football player as an added value for us. We want to have a holistic view based on objective (data) and subjective (scouting) parameters and understand as early as possible the probability of the talents to meet those high requirements of elite football. With Brainsfirst we’ve found a reliable partner that can offer us an extra part of the talent identification puzzle.”

BrainsFirst has had its initial experiences already since 2014 with partners like PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord Rotterdam, AZ Alkmaar and the Dutch FA. Meanwhile its client base has grown exponentially in Europe. “RBFA decided to choose this approach of talent identification & evaluation with a long term, data-driven perspective. They prove to have a clear vision and want to use the tools of today to succeed in the future. We are very pleased to work with this great organization,” says Eric Castien, founder of BrainsFirst.

Crucial part of the talent puzzle

When (youth) players play the game, data is collected and a unique representative brain profile is made. “Everyone is good and less good at something,” says BrainsFirst founder Eric Castien. “The games give you more insight into that.” The method measures players on potential rather than what they already show on the pitch today. To cope with the complexity of modern top football, it is not only necessary to be good technically, physically and motorically. Certain brain functions must also be of a high level, otherwise for example, ‘in-match information’ is processed too slowly to participate at top level.

Castien: “In talent recognition, the current performance of a young player is often taken as the main indicator, while this has a strong bias, such as physically. Players with a biological advantage at age fifteen, might at that moment be better than their teammates. They are often seen as the high-potentials of their generation, but some years later they are usually physically caught up by their peers and losing their lead. By adding a cognitive component to talent recognition, as a sports organization you gain a better insight into whether someone is also ahead in that area. This allows you to see the bigger talent picture.”

About BrainsFirst:

BrainsFirst BV was founded in 2012 to define the context specific required cognitive functions of elite football players. Since 2014, the data collection, analysis & interpretation leads to a considerably higher number of justified admissions & rejections in talent academies. Dutch clubs like PSV Eindhoven, AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord Rotterdam and national association KNVB are long-term partners. Since 2020 clubs in Germany, Belgium, England, Mexico and Spain have implemented the software in their talent recruitment process.