The Cost of a Sport: Behind a Game


Kayla Cohen and Edwina Henry

When kids play sports, few think about the associated costs – kids just want to play! The PEN peer leaders thought to look into the cost of a sport some of us shared and soccer is what we came up with.

When soccer started becoming popular in the United States of America, few might have thought about how prices have skyrocketed since then. Since the USA first established two professional soccer leagues in 1967, naming themselves the United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer League, soccer has only gotten more and more popular among Americans of all ages. Many townships have youth teams that play against others within the town or against other teams from differing towns, many times known as a recreational program. Along with these two programs, people also play on club teams, featuring kids from all over the metro area.

The recreational program usually has two or more teams inside of one township that play against each other. Unlike recreational (rec), a travel team is usually one team in a township that plays against other townships or cities. The significant difference between these two leagues are their costs.

According to The USA Soccer Club, even with younger age groups, the cost to play is still very different in price. For example a younger age group, which is ten and lower, the recreational season is roughly $200, while a travel season for younger ages would equal to about $335. For ages eleven and up, a rec season can cost $300 and the travel team would be $400. Keep in mind that this is just to play, there is also the cost of equipment that is required in order to play soccer.

If a player is extremely committed, equipment can add up to quite a lot of money spent. A popular blog called, On the Pitch, run by Coach Mike, talks about the prices of equipment and what it adds up to.

In our area, annual league costs of $500-$1500 a year to participate in Classic (a level of competitive youth soccer) are common. A small portion of these fees are used for insurance, national registrations, and other administrative costs.

Since the writers of the article live in a different area of the country, prices would vary from Millburn, but their estimated value for recreational prices for equipment all together was $100 to $200 and with travel it is often more.

Are prices too high? Or do they equal the right amount for the team to afford the necessities such as jerseys, referee fees, and other equipment needed for the game? What we know is that the cost of a sport can exclude certain socioeconomic groups.

In all honestly, there are many different prices all over the country that make it impossible to come to an exact estimation and conclusion of how fair the prices are. But soccer has historically been one of the more affordable sports. Think of how much your sport costs. And maybe give thanks to your parents for their time, effort and monetary support.