Club soccer can cost families $17,000 a year, according to a recent report.
As the 2018 World Cup captures most of the globe’s attention, the U.S. is sitting on the sidelines because its men’s team failed to qualify for the tournament. Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo says a major reason the U.S. men’s team failed to qualify is because soccer has become a “rich, white kid sport.”
Photo by Global Sports Forum/Flickr.
At the Hashtag Sports conference in New York on June 26, Solo argued that the high cost of youth soccer is hurting the state of the game. “That obviously alienates so many communities, including Hispanic communities, the black communities, the rural communities, and under-represented communities,” she said. “My family would not have been able to afford to put me in soccer if I was a young kid today.”
During the conference, Solo claimed the average cost for a child to play soccer in the U.S. was $15,000. While that figure may seem like an exaggeration, a September 2015 Money report on youth soccer highlighted a family that spent roughly $17,000 a year on club soccer expenses.
Solo spoke about the issue of underrepresented youth in soccer to GOOD earlier this year. “After running for the president of U.S. Soccer, I was heartbroken to see all of the kids that we are neglecting,” she said. “We’re alienating entire populations throughout America. We’re not welcoming them to the global game of soccer.”
Solo believes the issue can be solved, but the help should come from all levels of the sport. “It’s not enough to change the dynamics of soccer in America unless somebody from the top helps us,” she told GOOD, “which means U.S. Soccer and the $100 million in surplus funds needs to be distributed throughout amateur soccer.”