Playing soccer a confidence booster for girls, study says
A study involving more than 4,000 girls in Europe found that teenage girls who play soccer report higher levels of self-confidence, and that playing the sport can have a greater positive impact on the self-confidence of teenage girls than other popular sports.
The largest study of its kind was conducted by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in association with the University of Birmingham and an elite group of specialists to investigate the effect soccer has on the psychological and emotional state of girls and young women in Europe.
The research took into account the impact that soccer has on self-confidence, self-esteem, well-being, feelings of togetherness, motivation and life skills and compared those results to other popular sports.
Data was collected from 4,128 girls in Denmark, England, Germany, Spain, Poland and Turkey. An executive summary of the report is available here.
The study found:
• 80% of teenage girls exhibited more confident behavior thanks to playing with a soccer team/club vs 74% of those who played other sports.
• 54% of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I am less concerned what others think about me as a result of playing my sport" compared with 41% of those who played other sports.
• 58% of the 13- to 17-year-old females questioned said they had overcome a lack of self-confidence as a result of playing soccer, compared with 51% of girls who play other sports.
• 48% said they are less self-conscious as a result of playing soccer, compared with 40% of those who play other sports.
UEFA's women's football advisor Nadine Kessler said: "This study shows that girls who play football have greater self-confidence than those who don't play the game. Drawing upon my own experience, I can't emphasize enough how important this is when you are growing up. I am certain that we can change perceptions and make it cool for teenage girls to play football. If we manage to achieve this, we will be on our way to achieving our goal of making football the number one sport for girls around Europe."
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