Why do footballers wear 'bras'?- Undershirt clothing, explained

Scoring for your team always brings out a huge wave of emotion in players – so much so that many lose their shirts as they celebrate with their teammates.

While removing your shirt during a game is a bookable offence in many leagues across the world, that doesn’t stop players from tearing off their jersey in the heat of the moment.

Just recently, Artem Dovbyk removed his shirt after scoring the winner in Ukraine’s 2-1 victory over Sweden in their Euro 2020 round of 16 match.

In doing so, he revealed a garment that has become common attire for many players, a sports bra-esque item worn across their chest.

But what exactly is this undershirt clothing, and why is it that more players are starting to wear them?

Why do footballers wear ‘bras’?

The ‘bra’ does not serve the same function as a traditional sports bra does for female athletes, which is to support their breasts and reduce pressure on shoulders, back and neck.

The bra, or vest, that footballers have been seen wearing is fitted with a piece of equipment that holds a GPS tracking device.

That device is then used to track several factors of the players’ physical performance and health.

It is similar to the technology used in Apple Watches and FitBits and is capable of monitoring 32 different categories including speed, distance run, heart rate and acceleration.

It gives both players and coaches the chance to more closely monitor players’ performance and well-being during games and in training.

Why do teams use GPS tracking data?

The GPS data can help managers make key decisions when it comes to both selecting the best squad and monitoring players fitness levels, minimising the risk of injury.

Leading sports scientists and coaches can use the data to develop bespoke training programs to suit a player’s particular needs.

‘People are able to take that data during games and make decisions,’ Sean O’Connor, co-founder of STATSports, said in an interview with The Times.

‘What that allows you to do is build a profile on a player. You expect a player to do X, Y, Z in training and games. When they start to move away from those norms it can be for good or bad reasons.

‘If they are in a training session and there is 25 minutes left and they have gone way past what you normally expect them to do, then you can make a call to either taper it off or take them in early.

‘If the manager is deciding between two players to replace, he could ask his coach: ‘what feedback can you give, physically’.

STATSports is a popular brand of the GPS device, and was worn by Dovbyk during the Ukraine v Sweden game.

There are other brands as well, including Catapult’s Playr device, which was approved by FIFA as meeting International Match Standards in 2018.

Which clubs use the GPS vests?

Most teams in leagues across the world now use the vests.

Since 2010, more than three-quarters of English Premier League clubs have been using the devices – Wolves and Leeds United were among the first teams to implement it, followed by heavy-hitters Liverpool and Manchester United.

The England, Ukraine and Brazil national teams have also adopted the use of the devices, leading to many fans spotting the vests throughout Euro 2020.

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