Amid reports of declining soccer participation at young ages, here's a bright spot: Soccer led all sports in the highest number of new high school boys participants. Survey: High school athletic
According to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, boys soccer
registered 6,128 additional participants in 2017-18.
No other boys sports gained more than 4,000 participants. On the girls side, competitive spirit attracted the most new participants
Soccer ranks as the fourth most popular boys sports and
fifth most popular girls sport
in terms of participants. It is one of only four sports that is offered for both boys and girls in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
participation has increased 19 percent over the last decade, while soccer participation has grown 12.7 percent on the girls side. There is still room for growth as soccer only ranks seventh on the
boys side and sixth on the girls side in terms of the number of high schools that offer the sport.
The biggest drop in participation was registered by 11-player football: a decline of
21,465 from 2016 after a drop of 27,865 from the previous year. By a wide margin, though, 11-player football still had the most participants with more than 1 million players.
covered 65 different sports, as well as 13 adapted sports for students with disabilities. The sports included bass fishing, bocce and ultimate frisbee.