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.
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”
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”
This past weekend our Backyard Sports Plus Special Need athletes and coaches were treated to an indoor session of GaGa at Purchase College. The GaGa pits were provided courtesy of Scott Blumberg and Talon Athletics, a local GaGa activity provider and manufacturer of GaGa specialty equipment. The players received progressive skill instruction, including striking a … Continue reading “Backyard Sports+ Special Needs Athletes Play GaGa at SUNY Purchase”
This fall, Backyard Sports Cares launched its first soccer program for kids with Special Needs in Weston, CT. In collaboration with the Weston, CT, Parks & Recreation Department, the program has gotten off to a great start with enthusiastic volunteers from Weston High School helping to teach young athletes soccer skills, while having lots … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Sports Programming to New England”
Thanks to our teen coaches and players for a successful start to the Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League. Coach Vin Minotti led the group in clinical instruction followed by inclusive competitive basketball games for the squad. We meet Sunday mornings at 10am at the main gym at Purchase College for all interested teen players and … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League Gets Going!”
Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Friends & Fun to the Court Volunteers and members of Backyard Sports gathered at Ridgeway Alliance Church in White Plains on Sunday, April 3rd, for some intense and competitive games geared around the exhilarating game of tennis. The tennis program, led by Backyard Sports Cares and teen volunteers, helps … Continue reading “Tennis Anyone?”
Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) has launched a new Sports League for middle school and high school kids with special needs. The unique and appropriately competitive 6-week program will run through mid-June with practices and games taking place at Purchase College. In addition to soccer, the league will resume in the fall with other sports, including … Continue reading “BYSC Kicks Off Teen Sports League for Competitive Special Needs Players”
For Special Needs Players and Typical Peers, Sports are a Barrier Breaker On Sunday, April 19th, we host our third annual 3-on-3 Tournament. This event means so much to our organization and the kids that we serve. In addition to raising funds that keep our programs going, equally important, is the opportunity to raise awareness … Continue reading “3-on-3 Tournament Raises Awareness and Celebrates Day of Community Connection”