Data report finds top women’s leagues increasingly looking for overseas talent

May 28 – Exporting and importing talent from around the world is a key indicator for growth in football, with leading Women’s football leagues increasingly turning to expatriates to strengthen both squads on the pitch, and help develop fan bases off it.

As Women’s professional football further expands, more data has been made available with a CIES Football Observatory analysis of the composition of 223 teams from 19 leagues around.

The data showed that teams from the English Women’s Super League (WSL) are world leaders in importing expatriate talent as it looks to become the most lucrative women’s top-flight competition in world football.

The American NWSL has been the gold standard for women’s football in terms of franchised clubs and financial sustainability, although it trails significantly behind the WSL’s global expansion which has shown to be a key indicator of its progression off the pitch.

Another pattern unearthed by the data shows that clubs in financially stronger competitions tend to rely on more experienced players, as well as more footballers imported from abroad.

This is particularly the case in the WSL where teams played with footballers aged 28.8 on average (the third highest figure among the 19 leagues covered), and where expatriates played 61.3% of the total minutes (the highest figure overall).

Italy’s Serie A follows a similar pattern, as does the USA’s NWSL in terms of age (26.9 years), but with much lower figures for expatriates (26.8% of minutes).

As Women’s football is still developing, many of the top teams utilise younger players due to the ever-increasing pool of grassroots talent, with more young girls than ever turning to football.

To see the full report click here.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1721548840labto1721548840ofdlr1721548840owedi1721548840sni@g1721548840niwe.1721548840yrrah1721548840