Click here to view article on Massey University site (24/08/2006)

Never mind the footballers’ wives, what about the women who play football?

With the booming world-wide popularity of women’s soccer, Sport and Exercise Scientist, Dr Ajmol Ali sees a pressing need for research into performance in female players and what affects that performance.

Dr Ali is seeking top-level women footballers from North Harbour to take part in what may be the first academic research of its kind in New Zealand. Rather than comparing performance between genders, he says it is time to acknowledge there are physiological differences.

Women’s football is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and it warrants research specifically on women as opposed to extrapolation of findings from studies using male players and things like how fluid intake affects performance.

Women perspire less than men and so fluid recommendations may be different, he says.

We don’t know exactly how dehydration may affect physiological function like heart rate, how they feel during a game or how it affects performance levels, like sprinting and overall skill.

Dr Ali wants more research into women’s sports and has a grant from the Sport and Recreation Council to fund part of the study.