Youth Soccer Participation has Fallen Sharply — Cost of Entry Among Principle Causes

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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 Features GaGa Event as Part of Special Needs Basketball League

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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”

Backyard Sports Cares Receives Gannett Foundation Grant

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BYSC will Use Award to Support the Organization’s Soccer League in 2017 On January 18, 2017, Danny Bernstein, executive director, Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) and Linda Breton of BYSC, attended a reception at the Journal News office in White Plains for recipients of grant funding from the Gannett Foundation.  Backyard Sports Cares was one of … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Cares Receives Gannett Foundation Grant”


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On Saturday, January 30th, a few of the Backyard Sports Junior Board members gathered together at SUNY Purchase to play 6 vs. 6 soccer games with kids ranging from 7-10 who came from all over Westchester County to participate. It was an awesome, fulfilling experience for the coaches and all the kids who were involved. … Continue reading “BACKYARD SPORTS SOCCER TOURNAMENT”

Camp Shape Families & BYS Have a Blast at NYCFC-Toronto-FC Match at Yankee Stadium

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On Sunday, July 12th, more than 100 campers and their families from Camp Shape in New Rochelle, joined the coaching staff at Backyard Sports at Yankee Stadium to watch the New York City Football Club (NYCFC) take on Toronto FC for a home soccer match. Camp Shape is a summer camp in New Rochelle that brings … Continue reading “Camp Shape Families & BYS Have a Blast at NYCFC-Toronto-FC Match at Yankee Stadium”

BYSC Kicks Off Teen Sports League for Competitive Special Needs Players

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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”

Gooooooal! BYSC Brings First Soccer League Experience to 8 Westchester Area Schools

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Last week, we proudly launched a new soccer league in partnership with eight elementary schools and community organizations in under-served Westchester and Bronx communities.  Generously funded by a grant endowment from the Elmwood Foundation, the program is enabling nearly 200 fourth and fifth-graders a chance to play in a competitive soccer league.  For many, it is there first … Continue reading “Gooooooal! BYSC Brings First Soccer League Experience to 8 Westchester Area Schools”