I originally started this post as an introduction to the Coast Soccer League for our readers outside the southern california area. I wanted to go through the history and an explanation of why it is so successful with it’s teams dominating national level tournaments. But as I began digging through the data, I found something else I wanted to share first.
As I’m sure many of you know, soccer is being taken more seriously here in the States. It is now the most played youth sport. Kids typically start out in AYSO at an early age and then make the transition to competitive club. When that change takes place might be illuminated by the following chart. There is a 58% difference in number of teams between the U-9 and U-13 age group for boys, while there is a 100% difference between the U-9 and U-14 for girls.
The trend is clear, with more and more kids joining club until a peak is reached at the U-13 / U-14 age, followed by a subsequent decline in the latter teen years. It would be nice to conduct a study on the leading causes for the drop-off.
I wonder if the distribution is the same nationwide, or internationally for that matter? Did you guys start off in AYSO, then went to club? What age? What do you think are the contributing factors to the decline in participation?
This is the first in a series of posts analyzing CSL, and youth soccer in general. Take a moment to subscribe, it’s free and easy!
I think kids start playing AYSO early to be with their friends and to belong to a community so they can have things in common. Not all of them are serious enough players but they might experiment for a few years, like till the age of 13 or 14, and then quit.
Other kids play multiple sports till they get to the 13 to 14 age when they have to choose between sports because each sport is too time consuming and will overlap into the other sport and makes both sports’ teams unhappy with the multi-sport kid. These teams in-turn apply gentle pressure at first and not-so-gentle pressure later for the kid to choose one sport over the other(s). I think that’s another time where we lose a chunk of kids as they get into high school and want to play football, or baseball, or basketball, or ???
I would think these two reasons would more than account for the drop in numbers. Not everyone is cut out for the highest levels of soccer and, thank God, weed themselves out!!
Gary Kleiban says
Alright so we have:
1) Many who are not too serious drop out.
2) They choose another sport over soccer.
Let’s see what else we can come up with …