Soccer is the most popular game on earth. It’s also one of the most accessible. But in the US, top youth leagues can be expensive, limiting access for many. Fees can range between $600 – $1200 annually. For families at the top of the poverty line, that’s 3 to 4% of one’s total annual income. As a result, too many kids get shut out of the best leagues, limiting their development and visibility.
And those are just the soccer consequences.
Research has shown that participating in organized sports has far greater importance than an opportunity to play a game. Team sports is about building relationships, fostering passion. It’s about sportsmanship and learning one’s strengths and weaknesses. Soccer also teaches kids to respect those others who are different, an invaluable lesson in today’s increasingly diverse society.
Yet too often, these benefits are limited to those who can afford to pay. In Austin, data from a recent report (Annie E. Casey Foundation) suggest that 25% of children live below the poverty – 15% of those in extreme poverty. For these kids, playing in top leagues is beyond their reach.
In 2015 we created Soccerassist.org to address this problem. Our aim is to even out the playing field, placing more kids on the pitch and parents on the sidelines. We also aim to continue constructing new courts in partnership with the US Soccer Foundation and 4ATX Foundation, the charitable arm of AustinFC.
In soccer and in life, all kids should be able to make big goals.
Your generosity can make that happen.
One assist at a time.