By Helen Neill
Newsbeat health reporter
Playing in a football team can help men feel more confident and enthusiastic about their lives, according to researchers.
Dimitar Berbatov scores for Tottenham in the Carling Cup Final
A new study, carried out by the University of Nottingham, suggests the sport can improve the mental health of men who are suffering from problems such as depression.
They evaluated more than 100 men playing for league teams in the north west of England.
Lead researcher Alan Pringle said that one of the benefits of playing football regularly is the friendships men have with their team-mates.
He told Newsbeat that depression can make people become lethargic and withdrawn and that "people who wouldn't normally go out, will play football".
Joining a football team made nine out of 10 men happier
He said it acts as "therapy in disguise", and that many men talk about the confidence they get from working with their own team, and facing the opposition.
Nine out of 10 felt that their mental health had improved significantly since they joined a team, and more than 70% said that they were now more optimistic about the future.
Doctors are already encouraged to "prescribe" exercise to people who are suffering from mild depression.
Mind spokesperson Alison Kerry said: "If you're feeling low, outdoor exercise is a fantastic way of boosting your mental wellbeing.
"Men often find it harder to talk about their problems than women and football presents an opportunity for greater social interaction in an informal and fun way."