Why do men’s soccer players wear sports bras? +2023

AL RAYYAN, QATAR – DECEMBER 02: Hwang Hee-chan of Korea celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Group H match of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 between Korea Republic and Portugal at Education City Stadium on December 02, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar scored.  (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)

If you’ve been following the 2022 Men’s World Cup for the past few weeks, you might have noticed that some players sported an unusual accessory under their jerseys. When players remove their shirts at the end of a game or when celebrating a goal (like South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan, above, after his goal against Portugal on December 2), some wear what appears to be a sports bra underneath. As it turns out, men’s soccer players have been wearing these sports bra-like straps for a number of years, but with more eyes on the sport during the World Cup, many viewers get their first glimpse and are (understandably) a bit confused. What is actually the “sports bra” under their jerseys?

It’s not there for pec support or to prevent chafing (although it might help?). The “sports bras” worn by soccer players are actually GPS tracker vests. Each vest has a tracker on the back giving coaches, coaches and players a ton of data to learn from. Corresponding catapult sportthat it sells, GPS vests can measure how much and how hard players work, including things like “total distance, top speed, number of sprints, sprint distance, power, load, [and] Intensity.”

In other words, after a tough game or training session, the coaching staff can immediately determine how much effort their players have put in and adjust subsequent training sessions accordingly, or adjust their recovery recommendations. It can also provide interesting information for fans, such as the fact that according to FIFA data, Poland forward Robert Lewandowski covered the highest average walking distance during the group stage of the World Cup, narrowly edging out Argentinian Lionel Messi the athlete. Meanwhile, US left-back Antonee Robinson set the fourth-highest top speed in the group stage at 35.4 kilometers per hour (almost 22 miles per hour).

These may just be fun facts for most of us, but they are also useful information for a coaching staff. This data can help coaches get their players back in good shape for their next game or develop a better plan to ensure victory – and the sports bra-like GPS vests provide the insights.

This all makes sense, but why use a vest instead of an armband tracker like a fitness watch? According to Catapult Sports, it’s for accuracy and safety. “The vest keeps the pod in the optimal position for tracking so it can reach the GPS satellites,” explains the brand. “This ensures the data is as accurate and reliable as possible.” This placement is also “proven” to be the safest place for athletes who play highly physical sports like soccer, basketball and football, the brand adds.

And if soccer players’ GPS trackers didn’t look like sports bras, they wouldn’t be able to max out Brandi Chastain after a big win. What are all those data points without an iconic goal celebration, right?

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