How many youth players play soccer?

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by bubbafranks04, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. bubbafranks04

    bubbafranks04 New Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    I'm writing a paperon some of the causes why soccer is not very popular in America and needed some help. I need to know a statistic from a reliable source of about how many youth soccer players there are in America. If there is another thread on here about that, just give me the hyperlink, but my searching couldn't find anything. Thanks in advance for the help, I'll tell ya how it goes.

    Go Wizards!!!

  2. BigGuy

    BigGuy Red Card

    Apr 12, 2007
    More kids play soccer in some kind of league here then in any other sport in the US which includes baseball.
  3. Bird1812

    Bird1812 New Member

    Nov 10, 2004

    I think that number may include adults.

    IIRC USYSA has about 3 million kids registered. I Don't know about AYSO or SAY. PERFDBDAN or scoachd1 might be able to give you actual figures. Try e-mailing them if they don't respond to your post.
  4. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Please define play soccer -

    1) Occasionally kick a ball in the playground
    2) Belong to an organized team, but it's not the kid's #1 sport
    3) Play soccer year around, belong to an organized team, it's the kid's #1 sport

    Or any other definition you might wish to use.

  5. loghyr

    loghyr ex-CFB

    Jul 11, 2006
    I know of a lot of kids who only play at lunch at my son's elementary school. Some of them have played for me in the past, some of them play other sports after school, and some of them are just having fun. Okay, I suspect all of them are having fun.

    And when I try to recruit the kids, it is always the parents who don't want to commit.
  6. kidsfan

    kidsfan New Member

    Mar 29, 2007
    I have two teenagers who play organized (club/ODP/super y league) soccer, and a 9 year old daughter who tried a rec soccer team one year and didn't want to sign up again. The teens said something to her about "not playing soccer" and she insisted she plays MORE than they do - "every day at school recess." They sneered, "That doesn't count as playing soccer." I guess it's only "playing soccer" if it is run by adults and costs $$$ ??
  7. ButlerBob

    ButlerBob Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Evanston, IL
    DC United
    United States

    PERFDBDAN New Member

    May 6, 2004
    For an understanding of what the reported numbers mean as well as references to total numbers, see: INTERPRETING SPORTS PARTICIPATION RESEARCH, American Sports Data, Inc.,

    If you visit the web pages for the main youth organizations, listed by Butler Bob, you will find references to the numbers registered. For US Youth Soccer it is 3.2 million; AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) it is 600,000; SAY is 100,000. These levels of participation exceed any other sport. The current number of children participating in soccer on a weekly basis with Federation affiliated organizations is now about 4,000,000. In 1993, it was about 3.2 million. See, Topics/Subjects/S/Soccer

    Many children participate on a regular basis, but not with Federation recognized entities. They play in YMCA, CYO, Parks and Rec leagues and with ethnic leagues. Some estimates put the total number of regular youth soccer players at over 8 million. Ascertaining an actual number is difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is there is as much as five percent dual registration. In other words, players are being counted twice for they play both in USYS and US Club, two different organizations that report registration numbers to the United States Soccer Federation.

    To get you started on finding these organizations, which include a few more that Butler Bob listed, go to:

    I believe your thesis, that soccer is not popular, is going to be difficult to support. You might also want examine the increase in numbers of households that watch soccer matches on television. To start your research on this you should look at Soccer United Marketing’s (SUM) web page:
  9. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL

    It's certainly soccer, so your 9 year old daughter wins the argument.

    It may or may not be soccer that helps your 9 year old improve her game. Which may or may not matter to her.

    When my boy was 9, they would play with 1 ball, 20 kids on a small field. No room for dribbling, and if you did happen to dribble and beat a couple of guys, the third defender would pick up the ball with his hands.

    He liked getting out there with the buddies at recess, but it didn't really make him a better player, aside from the general fitness/coordination benefits that accrue to running around. As with playing Tag.
  10. CVAL

    CVAL Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    Come on now John it is all that street soccer that makes players good :).

    I played a ton of street baseball and basketball as kid and was never as good as the kids that played in a league.

    In soccer football and wrestling where I received coaching I was pretty good.
  11. bubbafranks04

    bubbafranks04 New Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    These are interesting points you guys bring up. I should have defined my thesis more clearly that soccer is not very popular as a spectator sport as opposed to other sports like NASCAR, Am. football, basketball, etc. The reason I wanted this information was to show that the popularity of the sport is there at the youth level, but that it has not translated into great success to the MLS. I am not saying soccer is not as unpopular as a sport such as curling, but clearly the profit margins between the MLS and NFL are not even comparable.

    And just a personal note about street soccer, I play on a college team right now. We were running a soccer camp for a couple of local high school teams. One of the best guys on the field was someone who had NEVER played organized soccer. He was just used to going out and practicing individual moves. All of the time on the ball gave him a great touch. He had lots of raw talent but lacked any field presence. If the coaches can help him understand the game he could become a very solid player. So while street soccer may not translate directly into success, when combined with team play it can produce some outstanding talent.
  12. scoachd1

    scoachd1 Member+

    Jun 2, 2004
    Southern California
    Are you talking soccer or MLS? Popular among what demographics? In LA, which I think is both younger and more Hispanic, a soccer game is frequently the highest rated sports show for the week. What are the implications of that? Was NASCAR always popular? Was the NBA? How about Hockey or golf. Were there any inflection points? How does their growth compare to that of Soccer? How do new technologies such as VDRs, HD and Broadband going to impact media? Sounds to me like your thesis is a bit simplistic.

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