In Duluth, Youth Soccer Grows But Others Suffer

Youth Sports participation is shrinking in Duluth

More competition and fewer kids is the theme of a recent story in the Duluth News Tribune about youth sports enrollment.

Within the city, K-12 enrollment is down 23% compared to 10 years ago. With a smaller pie to work with, some youth sports are struggling to stay viable – especially with more sports offered than ever before.

In particular, traditional sports like baseball, basketball, and hockey have all seen at least a 30% decrease in enrollment over the past ten years.

Soccer and Lacrosse Growing

What’s growing? Soccer and Lacrosse. The local youth soccer program has over 6,000 registrants – five times the number of hockey registrants – the second most popular sport. Lacrosse is growing rapidly as well, especially considering the local organization didn’t exist in Duluth ten years ago.

The Right Message

Thankfully, Dave Geary, the local soccer administrator, has the right message. He doesn’t want to “compete with other sports” because “we’re all here for the same thing.”

The goal is to get kids active and teach life lessons. The question, though, is how to keep all the sports sustainable into the future.

What do you think?

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Kris Baker

Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.