Why UEFA Want More Young Girls to Take Up Football

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A recent study organized by UEFA showed that girls who play football claimed, on the whole, to have better wellbeing and more self-confidence than those who did not. Football was shown to boost self-confidence amongst girls more than any other sport. The study was conducted on almost 4000 teenage girls. It was organised by UEFA with help from the University of Birmingham and other Sports Psychology experts. The massive scale of the study has thrown light on many aspects of women’s football. In addition to fostering self-confidence, other aspects that were studied included feelings of wellbeing, socialisation, team work, motivation and developing skills that help individuals to deal with challenges that arise throughout life. The participants were from countries across Europe, including England, Germany, Poland, Spain, Denmark and Turkey.

A Range of Benefits

The participants were all teenage girls who were over the age of 13. The study noted the differences in prevalence of football in different countries – not all countries had the same prevalence or focus or interest in the game. However, taking part in football did have a similar impact on the self-confidence of women across the board. The study noted that girls who did play football were more confident than girls who played other sports or played no sports. This is shown by the numbers of girls who associated the game with more self-confidence and less feelings of self-consciousness. They also said it helped them to overcome feelings of low self-esteem. Almost 80% of the participants showed more confidence in their behaviour after playing football with other women. The figures for girls who played other sports stood at 74%.

As well as this, 58% of the participants attributed playing football to their ability to dealing with negative feelings and low self-esteem, while only 51% of girls who participated in other sports reported the same thing. Slightly less than half the participants reported that football has made them feel less self-conscious. Also, more than half the participants agreed that they were not bothered about how other people perceived them as a result of their interest in playing football. For those who played other sports, the statistics stood at 41%.

Future Projections

Football is expected to continue to grow amongst female participants over the next few years. UEFA said that the study proved that girls who played football had more self-confidence. The women’s football advisor for UEFA drew on her own experiences, saying that the feeling of self-confidence that comes with playing football can be very important for growing girls. She said that she hopes the sport can be made more acceptable to girls and thus, attract more participation from an early age. UEFA wants to target more girls for the sport and make girls realise all the benefits of playing football.

It is worth noting that the Women’s Football Development Programme was launched by UEFA in 2010. Since then the game has found plenty of takers across Europe. UEFA members have focused more on the game in the recent years and as a result, the game has found plenty of popularity among women. The organization also aims to launch campaigns to make the sport the top choice for women in Europe by the year 2022.