TD Ameritrade: 10% of families spend more than $1,000 per month on youth sports

Parents are spending lots of money on their children’s sports activities. TD Ameritrade has released their newest survey and the results are detailed in an article from USA Today and the data is amazing.

Most American families (63%) spend anywhere from $100 to $499 per child each month on youth sports, TD Ameritrade found. Another 18% fork over $500 to $999 monthly. Roughly one in 10 (11%) spend $1,000 to $1,999. On the high end, 8% said they spend $2,000 per month or more, or $24,000-plus per year.

All that spending on sports crimps other parts of their lives, the survey found, with 55% saying they “cut back on entertainment,” 40% saying they “take fewer vacations,” and 23% admitting they have “cutback on money set aside for retirement.”

Take four minutes and read the whole article. I’ll post the full data when I track it down.


Youth sports driving sports tourism boom

Youth sports is driving a sports tourism boom. That boom is leading to more tournaments, building more sports complexes, and parents traveling more and more to get their kids to the games. Here’s an interesting piece from a recent HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumble that looks at this in more detail.


Nats partnership creates Pudge Rodriguez field

The Washington Nationals are not only a great baseball team, they are also a great community partner. They continue to invest in our community and to try and grow the impact of baseball.

Pudge Rodriguez may have played for a number of baseball teams, but the two years he spent playing for the Washington Nationals are seasons Nats fans won’t forget. Pudge was one of the leagues best catchers and evidence of that is his recent induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Nationals recently showed their continued commitment to our community and their respect for Rodriguez by investing in a baseball field in Annandale and naming it for their Hall of Famer. The Nationals Dream Foundation partnered with the Fairfax County Park Authority and took a rag tag field and turned it into a showcase with new turf, baselines that can accommodate 50/70, a new electronic score board, new fencing, covered dugouts, irrigation system, and upgraded batting cages. It’s a gem that players will enjoy on any afternoon or under the lights at night. Continue reading

Sports help kids’ mental health

In a recently published article entitled Bidirectional Associations between Sport Involvement and Mental Health in Adolescence, researchers from the University of Wollongong, Australia found a direct connection between a child’s involvement in team sports and positive mental health. The entire study is worth reading (note: it is behind a paywall). This is one of their important conclusions:

However, there is consensus that sport can facilitate the development of psychological well-being (17). A recent systematic review found that participation in organized sport during childhood and adolescence is associated with higher levels of self-esteem, greater social skills, and fewer depressive symptoms (14). In addition, sport participation is associated with psychological health in childhood (5), and children who drop out of organized sport show fewer psychological strengths and greater psychological difficulties than those who maintain sport involvement (35). Moreover, noninvolvement in sport puts children at a 10%–20% increased risk of mental health problems (35). Importantly, the findings of both a systematic review by Eime et al. (14) and the original findings of Vella et al. (35) suggest that the psychosocial benefits of organized sport are independent of those that can be attributed to general physical activity.

This is more evidence that youth sports can have a powerful impact on kids. Continue reading

“A coach’s plea to parents”

There was a great column in Canada’s The Globe and Mail at the end of May. It’s really an open letter from a volunteer youth soccer coach to the parents of the team she coaches and all sports parents throughout the world.

Coach Alison Belbin lives in Nanaimo, B.C. The whole column is worth the three minutes to read. Here are her closing thoughts.

Criticizing your child’s coach might simply be a reflection of your insecurities or long-held regrets as a former player. That’s okay. We all have them. As adults we can understand this, but as a child, your daughter does not. She is being pulled in opposing directions between her team and her parent’s opinion of her team.

On her team, she is finding her identity and her place among her peers. It is here she will decide if that place makes her feel whole and satisfied, or if it makes her edgy and hungry for more.

Let her discover this, on her own.

Let her play.

Well said, coach!

New Facilities at McNaughton Fields Park

On Saturday, April 9, the Fairfax County Park Authority officially opened new diamond fields at McNaughton Park in the Mt. Vernon district. This was the conclusion of a $4.4 million renovation program funded through the 2008 and 2012 Park Bonds.

This was the ribbon cutting on completely renovated fields that have been the home of Woodlawn Little League since the 1960s. The project included the demolition of the four existing fields and the construction of a 90-foot diamond and a 60/70-foot diamond with grass infields along with a 60/70-foot diamond and a 60 foot diamond with skinned infields. Along with the fields, covered dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, bleachers, and fencing were also included. Continue reading

Talent: Hard to identify when they are only 10 years old

When my oldest daughter was seven, I was approached by a coach about her moving up to Travel soccer. She was going to turn eight in a few weeks and, in the fall, would be ready to play travel. At least that was his point of view.

My wife and I talked about it and decided that Travel was not the best choice for our soon to be third grader. She would be entering the GT Center and it seemed to us that it was just too early. I wanted her to continue to play rec soccer (I really believe team sports are important for kids). The coach thought we were nuts. I’ll never forget what he said, “You are ruining her soccer career!” “Career?” I thought. “She’s seven!”

Continue reading

Northern Virginia Football Hall of Fame

Sunday night, March 5th was the 27th Annual Northern Virginia Football Hall of Fame Annual Awards Banquet. The event is a cornerstone of youth and high school sports in Fairfax County. Every year it is attended by players, parents, coaches and referees from every youth football program in Northern Virginia as well as many high schools.

Fairfax County leaders attend every year. This year, Rep. Gerry Connelly, Supervisors Herrity, Faust, and Smith, as well as school board members Ryan McElveen and Ilryong Moon all attended. Neighborhood and Community Services Director Chris Leonard and NCS Athletic Services Branch Manager along with Stephen McLaughlin and Harold Leff from the Athletic Council were also there.

But the real focus of the evening is the award recipients. Continue reading

I thought $60 million for a high school stadium was a lot…

In August 2012 Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas, opened. The $60 million stadium had seating for 18,000, a massive scoreboard with 38 foot wide high def screen, practice areas for golf and wrestling and opened with lots of fanfare. While stadiums open every year, this one was different. Why? Because if was a high school stadium.

On top of this, the stadium had to be shutdown less than 18 months later because of “extensive cracking.” The story of the stadium was covered by many media outlets including the Washington Post. It reopened in 2015 with Chik-fil-a, upper-deck seating, and more.

I remember reading about this at the time. $60 million for a high school stadium? At the time it seemed completely out of control. Now? It still seems completely out of control. But when I looked back to see what happened with Eagle Stadium, I found out that a $60 million high school stadium was just the start. This past September, a school district just down the road from Allen broke ground on a $70 million stadium.