Reimaging Youth Sports

There is something beautiful about playing soccer games at a makeshift field.

Soccer is the people’s sport — anyone can play at an extremely low cost, if not entirely for free. Compare it to the high cost of other sports, such as hockey or baseball. Compare it to the obscenely high costs of playing golf or polo. While golf and polo primarily exist in the 1% within developed countries, soccer is adored around the globe.

Soccer pitch

Makeshift soccer field

Furthermore, the cost of many sports–soccer and polo alike– significantly increases when the sport becomes “organized.” This rising cost can be attributed to many factors, including league fees, equipment and safety standards (cleats and shin guards can be expensive), travel, and field rentals.

But the benefits of organized sports, especially for young people, are undeniable. It keeps children off the streets, engaged during critical development periods, and promotes physical health. Moreover, youth sports introduce the concepts of discipline, dedication, and competition in an experimental, fail-safe environment. These concepts, and many more, form a solid foundation for lifelong lessons applicable in a variety of realms, from academic institutions to personal development to the professional world.

Perhaps the biggest problem with youth sports is the cost, and the consequences are both widespread and heartbreaking. What’s most frustrating is that this problem can be fixed by throwing money at it. The infrastructure exists to support such action. The demand is there. More young people would participate if they could afford it.

We at LeagueSide imagine a world where the cost barrier is blurred, if not destroyed altogether. As people who benefitted immensely from playing youth sports growing up, we want to democratize the process. We hope that anyone, regardless of their birthplace or family’s household income, can say yes to any athletic endeavour that they want. At LeagueSide, we’re inviting big brands to help us achieve this goal.

For brands, the benefits are vast — some being immediate and others more downstream. In the short term, sponsoring a sports team provides targeted advertising that is welcoming and exciting to consumers. Long term, sponsoring youth sports improves brand recognition and loyalty, as well as public perception.

McDonald's sponsorship

McDonald’s sponsorship

As beautiful as a makeshift soccer game might be, imagine if every child playing was wearing a jersey imprinted with their name on the back and the team’s on the front. Imagine if they had a real ball, a grass field, shin guards, and an organized schedule that would make it possible to play with and against other teams in their community. Imagine if all children had an opportunity to win the championship game. To celebrate victory and learn about the true value of sportsmanship. Imagine if that opportunity extended beyond soccer to basketball; to gymnastics; to softball, cross-country, football, and many more. This is the mission we’re asking brands to help us fulfill.

If you’re a parent or young athlete interested in getting sponsored, please visit leagueside.com/leagues. If you’re a brand interested in our mission, please visit leagueside.com/brands. Welcome to the team!

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