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Soccer, popularly known as football outside of the United States, is one of the world’s most popular sports. Millions of people all over the world are enthused by this unique sport. The origins of this sport can be traced back to the second half of the 19th century in Britain. The sport is prevalent in Europe and South America, and nowadays it has enjoyed growing popularity among Americans.
In all truth, we can all agree that soccer is not the USA’s most popular sport. Basketball, American football, and baseball hold the top spots. This, however, doesn’t mean that the popularity of soccer as a sport in the USA is stagnant. More and more people are gaining interest in it.
Most Americans don’t call the sport by its correct name, having given the “football moniker” to a sport where the foot meets the ball just a few times in a game. It shouldn’t, therefore, come as a surprise that American opinion on soccer is quite polarized.
As of 2015, there were 24.4 million players of soccer in the United States. Believe it or not, it is the third most-watched sport in the U.S. behind basketball and American football. The popularity of the sport has steadily been on the rise since the 60s and the 70s. It received a significant boost after the United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the 199 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It is the second fastest-growing sport in America, surpassed only by lacrosse.
Youth soccer in the USA has been on the rise for years now. According to statistics, there are approximately 3 million youth soccer players in the USA. The popularity of the game is palpable in certain pockets of the country. In some states, the sport isn’t quite as popular.
In this article, we are going to discuss the distribution of youth soccer players in the USA by state. We will cover youth soccer participation by state and discuss exactly what this means for the future of the sport in the USA. So sit back, relax, and read on to find out more. This will certainly be an enlightening read for you.
How Many Youth Soccer Players Are There in the US?
The largest youth sport in the United States is US Youth Soccer. Over the past decade, it has overseen the growth of the sport in the USA and up until now, its efforts have been lauded by major stakeholders. Through its programming, resources, and leadership, US Youth Soccer has advanced the sport for its 55 member state associations and 10,000 clubs and leagues.
As we have already mentioned, there are approximately 3 million youth soccer players in the country. Of these, 52% are boys and 48% are girls. Without a shadow of a doubt, this number has been on the rise compared to other decades, showing that youth soccer is becoming more and more popular among Americans.
Over the last decade or so, youth soccer has exploded in popularity in the states, even making its way down south to regions that are more dominated by the more American variety of football. The increasing popularity can be attested to the intrinsic simplicity of the sport. Kids can get a solid game of soccer together with a ball and a backyard or street. These are kids that would otherwise never be able to realistically compete in American football or basketball because of their physical frames. With soccer, these kids can compete with the tallest and strongest kids on the pitch.
One of the greatest reasons why youth soccer is becoming so popular and more kids are signing up is because of parent’s influence. As with other sports, most American parents encourage their kids to join owing to the number of sponsors that are ready to hand out scholarships to any exemplary players. So parents are content to pay thousands of dollars in registration fees for their kids to play soccer if this means that they won’t have to pay even much more for college fees. At the end of the day, the sheer numbers of youth playing soccer have grown to staggering lengths.
The emergence of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the increasing popularity of English, Spanish, and Italian soccer clubs have also driven and increased youth participation in soccer to unprecedented levels in the US. According to Nielsen Sports Sponsorlink, the MLS which is the top domestic league has experienced a 47% rise in interest since 2012.
All in all, it’s safe to say that the future of the sport is here. And for this reason, it’s hard to ignore the sport any longer.
We are going to discuss youth soccer participation in the USA by state. So sit back, relax, and read on to get enlightened!
How Many Youth Soccer Players Are There in the South Region?
Soccer hasn’t been so much of a popular sport in the South. The most popular youth sport here has always been American football for a while now. But steadily, youth soccer has been on a steady rise and several factors can be attributed to this.
One such factor is that the South borders Latin America. In Latin America, soccer, otherwise known as football, is quite the popular sport attracting millions of followers. It seems that this popularity has made its way to the South. The warm weather year-round and the large population of immigrants who bring a great appreciation for the sport are also responsible for this popularity in the South.
We will discuss the number of youth soccer players in the Southern states. So read on to find out more.
It’s one of the largest states in the United States by both area and population. We all know that Texans absolutely adore their football, but the truth is that a new form of “football” is taking over the state and Americans generally call it soccer. There are more and more soccer fans in Texas and this, in particular, has led to the growth of youth soccer in the state.
There are approximately 246,863 youth soccer players in both North and South Texas. There are a lot of youth soccer clubs in the state and the ages of the players here range from 12-19 years.
In Oklahoma, youth soccer is prevalent too, with the Oklahoma Soccer Association doing its absolute best to promote the sport in this state. There are approximately 36,222 youth soccer players in the state and this number is steadily on the rise. It’s safe to say that within no time, the popularity of the sport is bound to increase in this state.
When it comes to soccer in this state, there’s a lot that can be said. This is thanks to the efforts that the Arkansas Soccer Association has made to promote the popularity of youth soccer in the state. Kids are encouraged to try out this sport at a young age and some even get to play professionally in the MLS. There are approximately 25,104 youth soccer players in Arkansas and this number is increasing as the days go by.
Thanks to the efforts of the Louisiana Soccer Association, the popularity of the sport in this state has seen a rise. The association is dedicated to the development of the sport of soccer from the youth player up to adult levels. More and more kids are enrolling into the many clubs in the state and some even get to play for the D.C. Cup which is a tournament for elite teams. There are approximately 25,782 youth soccer players in the state.
Part of the reason why youth soccer is popular and prevalent in the state of Mississippi is thanks to the Mississippi Soccer Association which is a member of the United States Youth Soccer Association. Under the guidance of this association, youth soccer in Mississippi has seen a meteoric rise and more and more kids are enrolling to play. Currently, the state has approximately 21,516 youth soccer players.
One of the reasons for youth soccer becoming more and more prominent in the state of Alabama is thanks to the Alabama Soccer Association. This association is responsible for enhancing, supporting, and encouraging amateur soccer in the state. And for years now it has been doing so, with approximately 15,950 youth soccer players. Thanks to the Alabama Youth Soccer Association, boys and girls can receive advanced soccer training that is at the state league level. This has attracted even more popularity to the sport in the state.
In the state of Tennessee, youth soccer has become quite popular and prevalent. Thanks to the Tennessee State Soccer Association, players as young as 3 years old can join up for the sport and play while learning the strong values of teamwork and sportsmanship. The number of youth soccer players in the state of Tennessee stands at 49,307 and this number is expected to increase in the next few years.
Youth soccer in Georgia is quite popular, with several clubs in this state competing nationally and some even bagging trophies. These teams include Atlanta United, Georgia Revolution, Tormenta, Peachtree, etc. There are even more grassroots teams all of which create quite a competitive atmosphere. There are about 78,943 youth players in Georgia and as more and more clubs are coming up, this number will likely go on increasing.
The state of youth soccer in Florida has seen a significant amount of growth over the past few years. This is majorly thanks to the efforts of the Florida Youth Soccer Association which promotes the sport among youth in the state. There are about 113,777 youth soccer players in the state.
10. North Carolina
In North Carolina, soccer has become quite a popular sport. This is particularly true for youth soccer in the state which has approximately 72,999 youth soccer players. This huge number is majorly attributed to the efforts of the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association which aims to implement youth soccer play in the state. This number is likely to rise over the next couple of years.
11. South Carolina
There are approximately 22,372 youth soccer players in South Carolina, and though this number may be smaller compared to the North, it still is quite significant. Soccer is becoming a popular sport in South Carolina and particularly so youth soccer. This is because of the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association that has undertaken to grow the sport among the state’s youth. The association oversees the South Carolina Open League (SCOL) which is a competitive league for U13 through U19.
The state of Virginia has the Virginia Youth Soccer Association which is responsible for overseeing the development of the sport in the state. This body oversees the Virginia Soccer League which has numerous competitive teams. This has served to improve the popularity of the sport among the state’s youth, with the approximate number of youth soccer players standing at a staggering 144,197. This is one of the largest numbers in the South region.
13. West Virginia
West Virginia isn’t one of the biggest states in the USA. But despite this fact, the popularity of soccer in this state is still top. There are about 15,369 youth players in the state and this number is bound to continue rising. Why? Because of the active efforts of the West Virginia Soccer Association. This association is actively involved in promoting and cultivating interest while raising the standards of youth soccer in the state of West Virginia.
In the state of Maryland, youth soccer is also becoming quite popular. There are approximately 97,268 youth soccer players in the state which is quite impressive. This success can be attributed to the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association. The association is responsible for administering youth soccer throughout the state and fostering increased knowledge, recognition, and understanding of the sport. There are a lot of youth soccer clubs in the state (about 25) and this competitive environment has created a hub for the growth of youth soccer in the state.
Delaware hasn’t always been a sports-savvy state. But with regard to soccer, the state is becoming more and more enthused by this sport. The state of youth soccer in the state has seen a steady rise, majorly thanks to the efforts of the Delaware Youth Soccer Association. This body is actively involved in promoting, developing, and governing youth soccer to foster skills and understanding of the game across the state. There are about 13,480 youth soccer players in the state and this number is bound to increase.
How Many Youth Soccer Players Are There in the West Region?
In all truth, soccer has never been really so much of a popular sport in the West region of the United States. The premise for this has always been held by basketball and American football, with most people in these areas being enthused by the glamor of the two sports. But over the years, the popularity of soccer has been steadily on the rise, owing to the efforts of the various state associations. Particularly popular is youth soccer. So how is youth soccer in the various states in the West region?
In the state of Washington, soccer has become quite a popular sport owing to the efforts of the Washington Youth Soccer Association. There are several professional soccer teams in the state band, for this reason, youth soccer is on the rise as well. There are about 110.170 youth soccer players in this state, which is a huge number. And this figure is likely to rise over the next couple of years.
In the state of Oregon, soccer hasn’t been so much of a popular sport among most youths. But over the years, this trend has changed and youth soccer in the state has seen a steady rise. There are about 24,811 youth soccer players in the state of Oregon currently and this number is expected to continue rising in coming years.
We all know that for years now California has always been a state that is popular for basketball. This is an undisputed fact. We should, however, mention that the popularity of soccer in the state has been steadily on the rise and is expected to continue growing for years to come. The popularity of the California Youth Soccer League is partly the reason for this. There are approximately 321,000 youth soccer players in both North and South California. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the sheer population of the state.
Thanks to the efforts of the Arizona Soccer Association, youth soccer in the state has gained rising popularity. With approximately 51,672 youth soccer players in the state, the sport is becoming a force to be reckoned with. There are several youth soccer clubs and this has created a viable environment for the development of youth soccer in the state.
In Utah, soccer has become quite a popular sport. Youth soccer in particular has taken over the state in droves with the number of youth soccer players being about 62,972. This is majorly thanks to the efforts of the Utah Youth Soccer Association which oversees the development of the game in the state.
In this state, youth soccer is steadily gaining popularity. With some 12,645 youth players, the Idaho Youth Soccer Association has done a great job in promoting the growth of the sport. This figure is expected to rise significantly in the coming years.
The state of Montana doesn’t have one of the largest numbers of youth soccer players in the country. There are about 10,635 youth players. This is why the Montana Youth Soccer Association is lobbying for support to promote the sport.
Perhaps one of the smallest numbers of youth soccer players in any state in the USA is found in Wyoming. The state has some 5,794 youth soccer players. This is no surprise since the state has never really been that much of soccer enthused state.
In the state of Colorado, youth soccer has picked up popularity to become one of the most sought after sports. There are approximately 73,313 youth soccer players in the state. This is thanks to the efforts of the Colorado Soccer Association.
10. New Mexico
Soccer is gaining popularity in New Mexico thanks to its proximity to Latin America. Youth soccer in the state has been on the rise for years and there are approximately 20,590 youth soccer players, which is quite a bit.
How Many Youth Soccer Players Are There in the Midwest Region?
For some time now, the Midwest region has always been synonymous with baseball. The sport is the most popular in this region hands down. If the figures are anything to go by, then it’s safe to say that soccer is steadily beginning to take root in this region. So what is the state of youth soccer in the Midwest?
Thanks to the efforts of the Iowa Soccer Association, there are currently 32,113 youth soccer players in the state which is quite a bunch, to be honest.
In Illinois, youth soccer is on the rise thanks to the Illinois Youth Soccer Association which promotes the sport in this state. There are approximately 80,652 youth soccer players which says much about the state of soccer in this region
The Indiana Youth Soccer Association has overseen the development of youth soccer in the state, helping the number of youth soccer players to reach approximately 61,567. This is an impressive figure and is expected to rise in the coming years.
Thanks to the Kansas State Youth Soccer Association, the number of youth soccer players in the state has reached about 25,258 which is quite impressive. The association supports and promotes the development of the sport among kids aged between 11-19 years.
The Kentucky Youth Soccer Association has overseen the development of the game in the state, with approximately 37,621 youth soccer players taking part in the sport.
In Michigan, the number of youth soccer players is about 92,022. This is majorly thanks to the work done by the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association which fosters the development of the game among the state’s youth.
The Minnesota Youth Soccer Association is responsible for aiding the number of youth soccer players to reach unprecedented levels. With about 76,668 youth soccer players, Minnesota has become a hub for youth soccer.
The Missouri Youth Soccer Association has overseen the development of youth soccer in Missouri to a point where there are about 30,147 youth soccer players in the state.
9. North Dakota
In North Dakota, there are about 7,341 youth soccer players. The state doesn’t have a youth soccer association so that’s probably the reason why the numbers are so low.
10. South Dakota
In South Dakota, the number of youth soccer players is a little bit higher than in the North. There are about 13,752 youth soccer players due to the active efforts of the South Dakota Youth Soccer Association.
The Nebraska Youth Soccer Association has actively promoted and developed the sport in this state. The number of youth soccer players is approximately 21,787. This number is expected to rise in the coming years.
In both North and South Ohio there are approximately 91,505 youth soccer players, which isn’t that surprising since the state is known to be sport-savvy. Both the north and south have youth soccer associations that oversee the development and growth of the sport.
The number of youth players in Wisconsin stands at about 56,474 which is quite impressive. This can be attributed to the efforts of the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association which undertakes to promote the play of the game in the state.
How Many Youth Soccer Players Are There in the North East Region?
In this region, the four major traditional US sports (football, baseball, basketball, and hockey) are the in thing. The region is a hotbed for these sports with legendary teams and rivalries. But what is the state of soccer in this state, particularly youth soccer?
In Connecticut, there are about 16,841 youth soccer players, which is attributed to the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association.
Thanks to the efforts of the Delaware Youth Soccer Association, there are some 13,480 youth soccer players in the state.
This state has 10,867 youth soccer players thanks to Soccer Maine.
Maryland has an impressive 97,268 youth soccer players and this huge number can be attributed to the efforts of the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association.
Massachusetts also has an impressive number of youth soccer players at 167,402 which is thanks to the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association.
6. New Hampshire
This state has some 18,949 youth soccer players.
7. New Jersey
This state boasts of an impressive 150,978 youth soccer players, which is thanks to the efforts of the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association.
8. New York
Thanks to its urban nature, New York has about 183,218 youth soccer players. This is quite a lot and is for both Eastern and Western New York which have youth soccer associations.
Both West and East Pennsylvania have a combined impressive 163,423 youth soccer players. Both of these regions have youth soccer associations.
10. Rhode Island
This state has 22,031 youth soccer players.
The state has a mere 7,627 youth soccer players.
All in all, the popularity of youth soccer in these four regions is on the rise. The number of youth soccer players for these regions can be summarized as follows:
North East- 101,012,155
Clearly, the popularity of the sport is growing and its future is truly here!Source: US Youth Soccer Statistics.