A survey of youth soccer parents conducted by soccer.com indicates that most of them believe their children will continue to play soccer and and team play will resume by September after social
activities are again allowed as the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.
Of the 1,437 respondents, youth soccer customers, to an online questionnaire soccer.com conducted
April 17-22, 94 percent of parents expect that it is somewhat to very likely that their children will
continue playing soccer once team play resumes. Only 5 percent responded that they are somewhat to very unlikely to resume.
As youth soccer purchasers at soccer.com, these parents and
their children would tend to have a high interest in youth soccer. The key will be whether parents of more casual participants will sign their children up for the fall. Youth clubs and leagues are
concerned that there will a drop-off in sports participation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that has hit many communities very hard.
2008 recession, team sports participation dropped from 45 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2014, according to the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, and has remained stagnant.
One reason for the high expectations of the respondents was the continued interest of their children in soccer during shelter-in-place orders: 81 percent said their children are training at home, 63
percent said their children are connecting with teammates digitally, 29 percent said their children are watching rebroadcasts of classic matches and the same percentage are playing soccer video
Of those youth soccer parents whom soccer.com surveyed, 93 percent believe youth soccer will resume in their area by September, 80 percent believe youth soccer will resume by
August and 61 percent believe it will by July.
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cause widespread disruption to the organization of youth sports in 2020. A
Wall Street Journal article reported
on an estimate of 25 percent to 30 percent of youth soccer
clubs perhaps folding by the time it's safe to resume play.
All travel sports will be hit the hardest. A survey of the International Air Transportation Association reported 40
percent of recent passengers said they may wait at least six months after the outbreak is contained to travel again and almost 70 percent said they may stop traveling until their financial picture
Signup numbers for youth sports at the local level will likely be known later as some parents will wait to see whether schools reopen for in-classroom learning before they sign
up their children for other activities. That uncertainty will add to the complexity of issues youth sports organizers will face. Many of the things that have been taken for granted in the past --
access to facilities, field maintenance, sponsor support, paid and volunteer coaches and referees -- will have to be evaluated in the aftermath of the sharp economic plunge.
One thing is
sure. The soccer.com respondents agreed that the scene will likely be different when they return to the sidelines to watch their children.
Almost three in four parents (73 percent)
responded that it will be somewhat to very important for spectators to follow social distancing and nearly half (47 percent) expect that spectators will wear masks.