Survey: Soccer leads all boys sports in increased high school participation

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 participation (2017-18)

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 (18,426).

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.

Boys 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.

The survey covered 65 different sports, as well as 13 adapted sports for students with disabilities. The sports included bass fishing, bocce and ultimate frisbee.
6 comments about "Survey: Soccer leads all boys sports in increased high school participation".
  1. s fatschel, August 26, 2018 at 9:10 p.m.

    PK why don't we see youth articles offered free of charge. It's time for SA to do it's part in pay to play.

  2. Ben Myers, August 26, 2018 at 10:32 p.m.

    Good idea.  When relevant, I distribute them as PDFs to the youth soccer and high school soccer organizations I deal with most closely.

  3. s fatschel, August 26, 2018 at 10:40 p.m.

    When SA started charging  I asked about youth topics and they said it would remain free. However so far they keep pushing most youth related topics to the pay newsletter instead of youth insider.  

  4. humble 1, August 28, 2018 at 11:40 a.m.

    Good article.  Thanks.  Stands to reason.  From my empherical observation, calendar year change playing out here.  HS soccer not adherent to calendar year rule.  Kids play with their classmates regardless of birth year.  Kids are weighing playing a club with kids they don't know, if they are in the same school, maybe a different grade, maybe go to other schools, and paying $2-5K for this vs. playing HS with their classmates for free.   Kids and families are not stupid, they are told or they hear, if you don't get in DA you are not an elite player, and have little chance (boys) to play in college.  With all this, why not just play high school soccer and hire a soccer trainer with the money you free up from club fees?       

  5. s fatschel, August 28, 2018 at 1:44 p.m.

    Humble many  college rosters list where kids played club. There are still plenty of non DA kids playing in college.

  6. humble 1 replied, August 28, 2018 at 11:11 p.m.

    you are right and a lot of folks are beginning to realize that if they put together a good plan for their kiddos they can take that route.

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