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Football is traditionally seen as a male-dominated sport. The success of any sport lies in its ability to engage a diverse range of participants. In recent years, Women's Football has emerged as a powerful force, captivating audiences, and empowering female athletes. This wave of change is not only reshaping the game but also challenging societal norms, promoting gender equality, and inspiring millions of young women and girls around the globe. It is high time that we recognize and embrace the incredible potential of women's football, fostering its growth and providing equal opportunities for female athletes to excel. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the remarkable progress made by women's national teams and clubs, showcasing their skills on the grandest stages like the FIFA Women's World Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League. These events have captured the imagination of millions, breaking viewership records and igniting a passion for the game amongst young girls.

However, despite its growing popularity there is still a significant lack of scientific research and literature on injuries, mental health issues and their prevention, specific to Women’s Football.

I wanted on the eve of the FIFA Women’s World Championship in Australia and New Zealand, to take this opportunity to review some of the issues that women footballers have faced over the last decade and to encourage the medical community to do more to protect the health of these enthusiastic athletes.

I cannot think of better sports medicine experts to take on this amazing topic of Women’s Football, than our three guest editors: Celeste Geertsema MD, Pieter D’Hooghe MD, Ph.D. and Suzanne Huurman MD. They are all trusted sports medicine clinicians and experts in Football Medicine. Celeste was the New Zealand National doctor for many years, a FIFA medical officer for more than a decade, and recently responsible for training the medical workforce for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022, Pieter is an orthopaedic surgeon who has treated many elite football players both men and women, and for Suzzanne it is enough to say she is a sports medicine doctor in Real Madrid. They have assembled a great team of authors from all corners of the globe, offering scientific and practical insight into Women’s Football Medicine. 

This issue of Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal also features two amazing interviews:

Jill Ellis, is an outstanding personality in US Women’s Football. She is the most successful coach in the history of the Women’s World Championships. Highly respected, driven by passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport that she loved from her childhood, she is currently the president of San Diego Wave Football Club.

Sandra Doreleijers, from the Netherlands, is the current Head of Women’s Football PSV Eindhoven and a Former Player of the Dutch National Team. She has been pushing the development of Women’s Football in her country with the same enthusiasm.

For both, Jill and Sandra as former Olympian Athletes, I have highest admiration and respect and I’m very grateful that they have accepted to share some of their huge experience with the readers of the Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal.

In addition to all these excellent papers, I would strongly urge you to read the inspiring Letter from Qatar written by Dr. Omar AlSeyrafi.

Finally, we’re celebrating at Aspetar the end of the University year 2022 – 2023, and in the section of Aspetar Research you will find the details of four new excellent Ph.D. theses from Mefleh Alenazi Ph.D., Mariem Labidi Ph.D., Daniela Khidir Ph.D., and Paul Dijkstra MD, Ph.D. They merit our admiration.

Our guest editors, Celeste Geertsema, Pieter D’Hooghe and Suzzanne Huurman, did a great job. I would like to thank them sincerely for their time and hard work. I’m grateful to all authors for their valuable contribution to this excellent targeting topic issue. My thanks go to USA Women’s Football Federation for their friendly support in making this issue possible.

I hope that this issue Women’s Football will serve as a resource for the football medicine community to protect the health of female players. In the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, I wish all the participants to enjoy the “beautiful game” and celebrate their achievements, break down barriers, and create a legacy that inspires a generation to come.


Prof Nebojsa Popovic MD PhD




Header image by Jeff Amann (Cropped)

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From the Editor

Volume 12
Targeted Topic - Women's Football
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