Youth Soccer in the US is Declining, Why?

ESPN and Aspen Institute recently teamed up for the “Don’t Retire, Kid” campaign based on the content of a study by Aspen Institute and the Utah State University Families in Sports Lab that shows most kids quit organized sports by age 11. The number of kids playing sports is decreasing and soccer has taken the biggest hit among team sports, with the number of children playing the game on a regular basis down by 18% in the last 5 years.

Of the MANY important factors for kids dropping out or not participating in sports, this issue of the B-Elite newsletter will address the lack of enjoyment and the increased pressure to win. THE NUMBER 1 REASON KIDS SAY THEY LIKE PLAYING SPORTS IS TO HAVE FUN.

The pressure placed on these kids at a young age is one of the key factors for them dropping out. In the US failure, errors, losses, and mistakes are interpreted as negative and that is unfair and unnecessary for young developing minds. We believe our young players have to continually make mistakes, lose some games, and fail sometimes so that they can learn and improve. Each failure or mistake is an opportunity to get better. Oftentimes the pressure of winning or being seen for the next step – professional or college – is forced on them too young making the process a lot less fun. Above all, B-Elite wants to create a safe place where kids can make mistakes and improve every day.

What kids need is proper instruction, competition, constructive feedback, and positive reinforcement. Although we always try to win, winning is secondary. Individual success does not depend on winning. If young players have the talent, we assure you that they will be “seen”. B-Elite has had many kids, boys and girls, that have been recognized for selective programs like id2 and ODP, as well as, players who have come from a B or C team and regrettably have left us and made a DA team. We will truly make your child a much better soccer player and a well-rounded individual. By applying pressure, the right way and at the right time in development, we pave the path for our players to succeed.

Realistically, most kids will not reach a professional level, and many won’t even play competitively in college, so the most important thing is for our kids to give it their all, reach their potential, become well-rounded players, and most importantly productive members of society. We teach them life lessons through sport and our directors and coaching staff will continue encouraging a passion for soccer so that they can apply skills like teamwork, responsibility, hard work, resilience, fitness, leadership, etc. throughout the rest of their lives. This fundamental part of youth sports is oftentimes lost in present-day youth soccer and leads to unhappiness in our youth. The indirect implications on our youth for losing sight of the “fun” are critical – increased depression and obesity to name a few.

I hope you enjoy this edition of our B-Elite Newsletter, and thanks again for choosing B-Elite for your child’s development.