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The Jetstream Journal

Pay to Play: Club Sports

Aaron+Ortiz+practicing+for+his+club+team.+Original+Photo+by+Ben+Ortiz
Aaron Ortiz practicing for his club team. Original Photo by Ben Ortiz

Aaron Ortiz practicing for his club team. Original Photo by Ben Ortiz

Aaron Ortiz practicing for his club team. Original Photo by Ben Ortiz

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Everyone can remember his or her childhood athletics, whether it be YMCA soccer, Little League Teeball, or whatever sport had captured a little athlete’s big mind. A player’s mom or dad would coach for no payment whatsoever, and the parents were always seen screaming and cheering at the top of their lungs. But as we kids have grown up, it seems as though money has become more and more of a necessity to continue playing at a high level. Coaching, club, and uniform fees are now an annual payment that takes a large chunk of change out of families’ wallets. For some less fortunate families, making ends meet to put their players on the field has become a serious problem. So we ask, “Why do club sports have to be so costly?”

Although I have participated in club soccer for six years now, this issue had not become apparent to me until two seasons ago, when all three of the Yocum children were in the midst of soccer season. One night after my practice I overheard my mother, in a frustrated tone of voice, giving my father an earful about how costly the season would be that year. After researching to find the prices of club soccer, I realized my mom was right.

In a TIME Magazine article posted on August 24th, the prices on a variety of club sports were revealed, and the numbers are staggering. The top five most expensive sports were found to be Lacrosse at $7,956 a year, Hockey at $7,013 a year, Baseball and Softball at $4,044 a year, Football at $2,739 a year, and Soccer at $1,472 a year. For more competitive teams, prices can even go up from there, with the maximum payments for lacrosse and hockey being $17,500 and $19,000 respectively.  My mother thought that paying for soccer was expensive, but families with athletes in Lacrosse and Hockey are paying around seven times as much as soccer families!

And so the question lingers on: Why must these prices be so extreme? “The money goes towards costs for traveling and equipment, but also for things like merchandise,” says hockey player and Kadet Senior Aaron Ortiz. “The costs are too much, and some families cannot afford to pay and a player with talent could be overlooked,” he explained. $7,000 dollars a year is a lot to ask of a family, and players who are not in the position to meet these demands will never reach their full potential. “Being in a club sport is very competitive and can help a lot with getting into college. Only the best athletes play club so the owners know people will pay the money; therefore, the prices are increasing as much as clubs wan,t” explained Samantha Valtin, a Lacrosse player and Senior at Air Academy. “Yes, because that way all athletes have more of a chance to be a part of club sports and have an even shot at becoming a better player,” she responded when asked if club sports prices should be regulated.

Although the public may be unhappy with the payments they make to keep their kids on the courts, rinks, and fields, it seems as though nothing can be done to satisfy both the clubs and player’s parents. As club sports continue to grow and prosper in the American society, the hope is for a fair pricing system to arise that can allow each and every athlete to excel at the sport he or she loves.

 

 

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Pay to Play: Club Sports