What Are the Most Popular Youth Sports in the US?

ZEE Goalkeeper Academy Florida - Goalkeeper Training, Camps and Clinics > Blog > US Soccer > What Are the Most Popular Youth Sports in the US?
US Soccer / March 1, 2018 / Posted by admin

No, it is not soccer. It would be Basketball, with a whooping 23% of all kids under the age of 18 are involved in this sport either with a city, school or club!!
Then comes soccer that in the past 18 months has taken over Baseball and Football and left them trailing behind.

Football has had a drastic drop in the Southeast US while it still holds a good place in the rest of the nation. Baseball/Softball, has dropped 28% in the past 10 years and 8% in 2017 alone. Football and Baseball/Softball have lost significant ground against Volleyball, Lacrosse and even Track and Field.

In the time period from 2000 to 2016, sports participation has dropped. Nearly 2.5 million fewer children have played baseball, football, and softball. Household income is one major indicator of the participation as these sports have higher costs than Basketball or Soccer. In the past decade schools provide fewer sports opportunities for their students. Additionally, youth from homes in the lowest income bracket are at least half as likely to participate in costly sports such as football than youth from wealthier households. Simply put, families that can afford more can allow their kids to play more.

According to US Soccer roughly 16.9 million children in the United States play soccer at a club level and add to that another 6.7 million that are involved in high school program
Basketball kills every other sport 27 million kids are involved in a Basketball team and it’s not over, it is said that in 2018 more than 30 million will play the sport at a club or high school level.

With the decrease in baseball/softball participation, the current public health status of the US is likely to become more appropriate. With Basketball, Soccer track and field and even Lacrosse boosting, that are a by far more “full-activity and contact sports”, will help child obesity that happens to be one of the biggest problems plaguing the US. Currently, the US is the country with the highest number of obese children. 18 times more than the Netherlands, 22 times more than China and 61 times more than Sweden. For children ages 5 to 17, nearly 40 percent of girls and 35 percent of boys are obese.

Basketball and soccer participation will certainly combat the growing obesity epidemic, but these two specific sports also provide a number of other important benefits. In a study done by Sapienza University in Rome Italy researchers believe that Basketball, track and field and soccer activity was shown to activate the brain: After children were in movement for 18 minutes, MRI scans of children involved in these sports compared to others, shows that their brains have the highest amount of neuro-electric activity.

1.Basketball
2.Soccer
3.Football
4.Track and Field
5.Baseball
6.Softball
7.Volleyball
8.Lacrosse

That same university research has also shown that Basketball, soccer, track and field provide compounding benefits for active children, because they’re very active sports. When children enter these sports at an early age, they experience many lifelong benefits: they are likely to become obese, more likely to go to college, and they are more likely to be productive adults than children who play light or inactive sports.

What about these sports in general and more detailed, how many fans do these sports have?
Football is the kind of the castle, thanks to college football that has 12 times more the fans that the NFL. Then comes basketball, however in this case college and NBA fans are close to even. What about baseball? College baseball is down as well and the MLB is at its lowest since World War II. More people in average attend a MLS game (31,019) than a MLB game (29,917). Soccer like we stated already is growing fast. Youth soccer most of all and the MLS is doing pretty well compared to a decade ago. College soccer however is not a stronghold. It’s the 9th most popular college sport!!!

There is an interesting fact that both Soccer and Basketball are the #1 and #2 played and watched sports in the world, so it looks like the US maybe catching up with the worlds sports trends? The US is the inventor of Basketball, it is thanks to the US that this sport is so popular and has spread to every corner of the world.
While with soccer, the US has lagged for decades. It’s introduction has always been at a secondary level, mostly to blame is US Soccer, that has damaged the development of soccer throughout the years, choosing money instead of development. But still here it is, the second most popular sport for children under the age of 18 in the United States.