Can Youth Soccer Survive the Covid-19 Pandemic?

  • 38% of programs say they can survive for another season at the very most.
  • 52% of parents say they’re less likely to enroll their kids in sports in wake of the pandemic sticking around in the fall.
  • 1 in 4 youth sports households has experienced job loss amid coronavirus fallout.

While the administrators of the major pro-sports leagues work to determine when they can eventually return to action and pack their stadiums once again, youth soccer programs are trying to figure out whether they’ll be coming back at all.

21 states are back on the field, but the risk of a second wave of the pandemic is becoming a serious reality (according to the CDC).

In a survey of 110 youth soccer organizers from across the U.S. 46 percent of programs said they are in danger of permanently shuttering due to the impact of COVID-19. In addition, 32% of the organizations said they have, at most, one more season of runway remaining before they go under given their current circumstances.

Youth soccer in the Southeast US has dropped an average of 23%. 41 clubs have reportedly closed their doors and by the end of the fall season another 100+ could follow the same faith.

In the same vein, 54 percent of youth soccer parents expressed high concerns that the program their kids participate in could fold.

Sadly, more than half of youth soccer clubs indicated that 28% of the parents with children enrolled a soccer program have requested refunds for seasons that were cut short or scrapped entirely. 23% of these families have not re-enrolled their children for the 2020-21 fall season

Most youth soccer organizers indicated they expect to have kids back on the field possibly in February of 2021, thus also based on the fact that the pandemic will be under control by that date. Roughly 1 in 10 organizers said they don’t realistically expect to be still running at that time.

Youth sports programs could face significant challenges in bringing families back into the fold, as 48 percent of youth sports parents said they are less likely to enroll their children in sports programs in the wake of the pandemic.

From a health perspective, 27 out of 110 parents interviewed said they expect to be comfortable having their children participate in youth soccer again by the end of 2020. A quarter of parents interviewed, however, don’t expect to be comfortable with their kids playing soccer until the pandemic is fully under control, with another 14% saying they don’t know when they’ll be ready.

81% of soccer parents indicated their children have missed participating in youth soccer during the pandemic.

Like many sports industries, the youth soccer community is seeking aid from the federal government to stay afloat. Approximately 850 organizations have joined a Coalition, which has asked Congress to allocate $8.5 billion for the establishment of a Youth Sports Economic Relief Fund in general. This past May 31 House members have signed on in support of the initiative, the coalition said, and a letter has been passed along to House and Senate leadership. We have yet no word of any aid being distributed.

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