Planning matters

Are Kids Sports a Financial Disaster?

Did you know that parents can spend up to $10,000/year funding their kids love for athletics? From club teams, travel teams, personal trainers, camps, uniforms, gas, hotels and equipment the cost quickly adds up. Is this a financial loss or gain?

Let’s take a look at youth soccer, a sport that has exploded in growth throughout the last few decades. US Youth Soccer, a non-profit and educational organizational encouraging the sport in youth ages 5-19, says in 1974 they had 100,000 registered players through the United States, today they have more than 3 million!

Some parents watch their child play and begin to see their education to college paid for through a scholarship. Keep in mind the chances of this are extremely slim. Looking at Division 1 colleges, there are 1,970 men’s soccer scholarships and 4,480 women’s soccer scholarships available (and few full scholarships). Your child is one in a field of a million who are thinking about the same thing.

A chance for a scholarship likely means enrollment in a club/travel team that provides competitive training and playing environment. Peter Dunn aka Pete the Planner ® is an award-winning financial mind and comedian who stated that club/travel sports are a financial disaster and that our children end up paying for their youth sports experiences with student loans. In the end, athletics tend to leave you without a return on your investment.

As a mother of teenagers engaged in athletic sports, I’d say my personal experience is that yes,  athletics are expensive but can also be an investment with a different type of return. Money does not have any value over the friendships, the different places you get to play and communities you visit. Plus, you have the physical commitment to yourself, your fellow team members and the emotional growth from winning and losing games. 

There are also other ways to cut back on some of the expenses such as selling your old gear for new, carpooling, group rated hotel rooms and packing lunches or snacks versus eating out. 

Hobbies are expensive, but why can’t we save for college and also try to encourage and financially help our child follow their dreams and play college ball? To me it is the best of both worlds.

Written By Johnson Bixby