Survey: Parents who grew up with soccer are driving big increases in interest in the sport among young children

It's not too early to start tugging at the hearts of young kids and developing their sports interests.

The NFL aired one of its wild-card games in January Nickelodeon, which drew its biggest audience in nearly four years. Nickelodeon and CBS Sports followed up with “Nick-ified” pre-Super Bowl content before the Tampa Bay-Kansas City championship game.

Morning Consult has released a survey of the sports interests of Generation Alpha, those born after 2013, and their parents, and soccer scored very high.

Morning Consult: Generation Alpha sports survey

A few of the findings of the poll conducted Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2021, and reported by Morning Consult's Alex Silverman:

-- Of Gen Alpha parents with kids ages 3 or older, 26 percent said their children played soccer, more than football (25 percent), basketball (24 percent) and swimming (24 percent), the next sports with the highest participation rates.

-- The same parents said 23 percent of their children were soccer fans or frequent soccer viewers, a higher percentage than any other sport except the NFL (27 percent). (By contrast, soccer ranked fifth in viewing of Generation Z kids, those born in 1997-2012.)

What is driving this increased interest in soccer among Generation Alpha?

It's rather simple: More Gen Alpha parents played or watched soccer growing up than parents of previous generations, and they are passing on their soccer interest at higher rates than parents are passing along their interest in other sports.

(Almost as many Gen Alpha parents watched soccer as baseball while parents of children born before 1997 watched baseball at rates five times more than soccer. Besides soccer, pro basketball is the only other sport that has registered a generational increase in the percentage of parents who watched that sport.)

And perhaps the biggest driver of soccer interest among young children: Gen Alpha children of soccer-playing or -watching parents were significantly more likely to play or watch soccer -- especially the latter -- than the Gen Alpha children of all parents, with increases (18 percent for participation and 31 percent for viewing) far higher than increases for Gen Alpha children playing or watching other sports.

9 comments about "Survey: Parents who grew up with soccer are driving big increases in interest in the sport among young children".
  1. Guy Walling, March 1, 2021 at 3:23 p.m.

    The sad truth is that there is so much hypocracy among everyone it really is true about the old saying, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Hypocracy among us really became evident when most Christians vote for a man that bragged about grabbing certain female body parts. Then all the beer drinkers that continued to get drink their beers while the National Athem played became offended when others kneeled to the song that they were drinking too. Then we have a man sitting in the council offending other council members, such as Becky and others who probably voiced comparably offensive statements to friends and family sometime in their life, I'm sure because no one is perfect. See my point? I'm sure my point just offended someone ON BOTH SIDES! The hypocracy among us and all the comments I'm reading is making my head spin! We are all hypocrites...every last one of us. So before we point the blame on anyone, we all need to dig deep in ourselves, try to understand how the other person is thinking (not feeling) and make a change for the greater goal. 

  2. frank schoon replied, March 1, 2021 at 4:05 p.m.

    You're right there is a lotof hypocrisy going around. Just like what you say about Trump  stating in jest only between two guys in private, resulting in many being upset . But those same people weren't as upset or at all over what Biden physically, actually did with his young 20 your old intern  and still swoon about Bill Clinton's exploits , even much worse, excused of rape......

  3. Nancy Z, March 1, 2021 at 4:58 p.m.

    Standing for the national anthem to show respect for the country we love and the country YOU have the priviledge to play for, isn't much to ask. Sounds like Seth has earned the right to his say!!

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, March 2, 2021 at 7:28 a.m.

    This whole controversey is unfortuneate since the WNT decided to stand during the national anthem and use constructive methods for change--prior to the annual meeting and prior to their last match. I expect the WNT decison was coordinated with the players on the MNT. So all the fuss is about nothing. Time moves on.

  5. humble 1, March 2, 2021 at 12:52 p.m.

    ON THE ARTICLE.  Thanks for sharing this important news Mr. Kenedy.  I for one do not accept the club number showing declining enrollment in soccer and these data points seem to support that.  Is it possible that the number of boys playing soccer that never register with USYS or UCS or even AYSO is growing?  In my area the latino clubs have as many maybe more boy players - than legacy clubs - they are cash business - they do not register players.  Then there is the high school boys.  In my emperical observations, players and families at the margin, not the elite players, but at the margin, say below boys ECNL, (which is, if nothing else a pretty good marketing vehicle for elite boys soccer), feel squeezed and unappreciated by clubs and come HS, players drop club and do HS then train together in the 6 months that HS is not in session.  A middle class family paing $3k/yr to club comes out $12K to the positive here.  Back to the latino boys, they transition from latino club to HS. In HS boys soccer in my area most of the HS teams are 90-100% latino and most them never played in the two legacy club leagues in town, and if they did, they no likely no longer do.  Baseball, basketball and (american) football all have clear and accepted rolls for parents in raising the player, but in soccer, the clubs push parents away, and, they do so very early in player development.  The integration of more parents that played soccer into their childrens growth and development and furthermore, into their communities soccer platforms, is the next big step in our evolution as a soccer nation.   Keep it going! 

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2021 at 2:38 a.m.

    Kind of strange but 2 generations ago, families were soccer families and parents and siblings as wel as the community played an important part as role models and informal coaching. Maybe we will come back to that. 

    My own kids were attending my adult matches at a very early age and watching the matches fueled their desire to play. My oldest two played well into adulthood. The oldest also became a referee centering amateur adult matches in Europe. So far the grand kids are more interested in music and martial arts than soccer. Been there, done that too.

  7. Mike Anderson, March 2, 2021 at 6:22 p.m.

    Clearly facts = disinformation. C'mon everybody knows that! And by canceling this Seth fellow, we can be assured nobody else presents facts. I mean disinformation. Ever. Again. Cheers

  8. Peter Acel, March 2, 2021 at 7:58 p.m.

    This whole flag issue can be resolved quite easily.
    For domestic games follow what the sane world does, no national anthem. Regarding international, including olympic matches, do play the national anthem with kneeling forbidden. The players are representing their homeland,  civil rights issues are a domestic concern. Do not wash your dirty underwear in front of an international audience!

  9. Peter Acel, March 2, 2021 at 7:58 p.m.

    This whole flag issue can be resolved quite easily.
    For domestic games follow what the sane world does, no national anthem. Regarding international, including olympic matches, do play the national anthem with kneeling forbidden. The players are representing their homeland,  civil rights issues are a domestic concern. Do not wash your dirty underwear in front of an international audience!

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