Find the top-performing talent of tomorrow, today

We successfully mapped the invisible element in football: cognition. Discover & develop the brains of your current and new players. Add cognitive data to your talent funnel metrics & complete the puzzle.

Brain-based talent identification - platform access
100% online | bias free | data-driven | neuroscience-based

Discover & Develop cognitive talent

Whenever we talk about the best footballers, like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, we often talk about how clever they are with the ball. And yet, football intelligence is typically missing in the data that's used to measure performance and development. Footballers, and indeed any sports player at the highest level, are smart in very specific ways. BrainsFirst has developed a method to measure sports intelligence. Based on 6 years of neuroscientific research, we've developed a valuable and easy to use tool that you can use to recognize and develop talent.

How it works


With these serious games you can reliably determine the football intelligence of your players.

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Case study

Are you curious how using game-based assessment raises ROI on your Academy budget?

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Nature or Nurture

Where does a talent like Messi come from? Can you train it, or is it innate? And how can me measure it?

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Join the 25+ clubs that find talent with BrainsFirst

What our customers say

BrainsFirst identifies the core cognitive capabilities crucial for playing football. They enable us to pre-assess future potential of possible new players. Besides, we now are able to offer current Academy players an education which is even more tailor-made.

Paul Brandenburg
Hoofd Jeugdopleiding, AZ

What our customers say

Data helps to filter out subjective biases indecision-making. The cognitive data of BrainsFirst is relevant in order to make the talent detection process more objective and better.

Arne Hendriks
Embedded Scientist, PSV

What our customers say

Especially in online marketing, it is very difficult to hire on study background. BrainsFirst enables you to separate the true talents by nature from those who only look like talented professionals by resume.

Lennart Ruigrok
E-commerce Specialist

The most frequently asked questions - Answered by Eric Castien

From what age can the games be used?

The games are used for talent recognition from the age of 10. The interpretation and predictive value of the scores differ for players up to 14.5 and players from 14.5 years.

Can we – as a club or association – use BrainsFirst for talent development?

BrainsFirst provides a talent identification tool and helps you determine if players have the brain potential to become a top player. We help clubs to invest primarily in the (potentially) best players.

Can you improve brain skills through gaming?

Previous research has shown that the effect of cognitive PC training is limited. You may be able to change “a 6” to “a 7”, but not to “a 8” or higher.

Find out about the latest news in sports

19 Feb, 2024

Artificial intelligence and Sports: Eric Castien (BrainsFirst) provides answers

Greek newspaper ‘Peloponnisos’ spoke with the Dutch research journalist-author and founder of BrainsFirst about the entry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into football and sports in general. And also specifically about ways to predict if a teenager can play at a high level.

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24 May, 2023

A computer game for children reveals secrets that the world’s biggest football clubs are looking for answers to

In order to better identify tomorrow’s football stars, international national and club teams test the brains of children up to the age of 12. Behind the idea is a Dutchman who has already seen startling results. The graphics are most reminiscent of Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Tetris or other video games that have at least 30-40 years behind them. With a cannon you have to shoot small figures that fall from the sky. You also have to connect dots in time and remember shapes like in a kind of flip game.


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20 Mar, 2023

What Makes An Elite Soccer Player’s Brain Different From The Rest Of Us – Forbes

It’s not every day that Real Madrid get thrashed 4-0.
But that’s what happened to their under-19 side in the quarterfinals of this year’s UEFA Youth League.
AZ don’t have the resources of Real Madrid, or even domestic rivals Ajax and PSV. Instead, they’ve harnessed the power of the brain.

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