This past week, the New York Times published a story about the decline in youth soccer participation in the US. According to the report, over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players. The number of children who touched a soccer ball even once during the year, in organized play or otherwise, also has fallen significantly.
While kids’ attention to sports has been largely lured away by hand-held technology devices, there are other factors at play. The Times reports that high burnout rates from pushing children into travel soccer too young as well as the high costs of programs have also contributed to the lower numbers. These are issues that Backyard Sports Cares sees on a daily basis. Kids want to have fun when they play – and playing soccer shouldn’t be an exclusionary sport based on socioeconomic rank.
In 2014, we instituted the Backyard Sports Soccer League. This program specifically targets low-income children to give them a full soccer experience, including coaching, mentoring, and competitive play. In four years, we have gone from 75 to more than 250 players, and we have grown our team numbers from 8 to 18. We specifically identify children who cannot afford the high cost of playing and children who have never been exposed to the game. We work with local schools and agencies to make the organization a stakeholder in the program. This allows us to enhance our relationship both with the community and the families that participate.
Bringing sports like soccer to kids who live in under-served Westchester neighborhoods is fundamental if we are to help build healthy engaged communities who raise healthy well-adapted kids.
Our Executive Committee is a force of wisdom and leadership that propels Backyard Sports Cares to do great things in our community. Thanks, Mike Moser and David Shuster for stepping up to do good!
Backyard Sports Cares “guest counselors”, Rhodrey Dafydd and Tom Finnigan of the United Kingdom, recently spent the month of May participating in our afterschool and special needs programs. They led early morning and recess rugby and cricket programs to elementary school students in White Plains and New Rochelle. They also assisted in a physical education … Continue reading “Bridging cultural differences through sport: Visiting UK coaches introduce rugby and cricket to Westchester grade schoolers”
Last January, with generous support from Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) partner, Advocate Brokerage of Scarsdale, BYSC kicked off the organization’s first basketball league in White Plains. Approximately 100 fourth and fifth-graders from five local elementary schools participated in the league, which culminated in a jamboree finale on March 23rd, 2018 at SUNY Purchase. Participating schools … Continue reading “100 kids celebrate victories and teamwork on final Saturday of BYSC White Plains Basketball League”
As part of Backyard Sports Cares’ Mission: Gaga 2018 initiative, BYSC, in conjunction with host families, will be donating a portable gaga pit to the Boys and Girls Club so they can enjoy the game all year-round. To get the kids formally introduced to gaga action, Backyard Sports Cares hosted a Gaga Day on Thursday, January … Continue reading “#MissionGaGa takes flight at Mt. Vernon Boys & Girls Club”
When you hear the name Talon Athletics, the sport of GaGa may not spring to mind, but it should. Based on an inspiration by Scott Blumberg and Will Perez more than five years ago, Talon Athletics has grown into the largest supplier of GaGa Pits and protective gloves in the New York tri-state area. A … Continue reading “The guru behind the GAGA ball — And BYSC’s Mission GAGA 2018”
Bike Day gives gift of first bicycle to dozens of Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club kids Beaming faces and squeals of joy and amazement could be seen and heard from across lower Westchester County last Saturday, June 9th. It’s no wonder when dozens of children from the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club received brand … Continue reading “BYSC Joins Foundation for Life for Annual Surprise “Bike Day” Giveaway”
“This was a great experience and it felt great knowing that I was doing something to help make a change. I really got a lot out of it, and can’t wait for the next dinner.” — Jake Meyrowitz, BYSC Student Leader On January 22, 2018, Backyard Sports Cares and the White Plains Youth Bureau initiated … Continue reading “Discussing racial diversity: BYSC student leaders, Iona Prep students and White Plains Youth Bureau talk about race relations”
How do you get at-risk youths in crisis to open up and take some hard-won advice? If you’re Backyard Sports Cares, the answer is pizza…and a few local heroes from the Westchester Knicks! This past week, Danny Bernstein, executive director, Backyard Sports Cares, decided to add a unique dimension to the recreational programming that the … Continue reading “Productive Discussion: BYSC brings local at-risk youths together with role models from the Westchester Knicks”
Volunteers and Vested Supporters are Invited to Join this Important Initiative with Backyard Sports Cares Backyard Sports Cares is embarking on an ambitious mission to bring kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds in Westchester together — and GaGa is the lynchpin. Last week, BYSC Executive Director, Danny Bernstein, hosted a kickoff conference with BYSC’s stakeholders and … Continue reading “GaGa Plays Key Role in Ambitious Mission for Spring 2018”
Backyard Sports Cares Fall Basketball League for athletes with special needs has exceeded expectations this year. In conjunction with our Basketball program, we featured a GaGa special event that got our kids moving and exposed to non-traditional sports. Check out our video to take part in the action and hear from our awesome teen coaches, Audrey … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Features GaGa Event as Part of Special Needs Basketball League”
On September 20, 2017, Backyard Sports was given the incredible opportunity to co-host a local radio show through WVOX and Wartburg Cares Radio. Produced by Angela Ciminello, Vice President of Development and Marketing at the Wartburg Adult Care Community in Mount Vernon, Backyard Sports Cares Executive Director, Danny Bernstein and Dillon Faulkner, were able … Continue reading “WVOX-AM “Wartburg Cares” Radio Show Features Backyard Sports Cares”
Camp Shape of New Rochelle let campers loose on the field this summer under the coaching of Backyard Sports. Watch our video to experience the program’s success.