Study Shows Teenagers Don’t Quit Soccer
An interesting study picked up from the Intertubes shows that teenagers don’t necessarily quit soccer in the expected numbers — it’s actually a lack of new talent.
The study analyzed a large amount of data and concluded that soccer is largely building interest in the game until around U12 when interest plateaus and then starts to tail off. The number of returning players increases whereas the number of new players declines sharply.
One of the clear problems is how to attract teenagers to soccer but it’s probably a much wider issue, i.e. how do you get teenagers to do anything, especially some physical activity that involves running around in all weathers.
As my son is about to play at the U14 level I can see the changes in him and throughout the club. I also have insight into the club’s numbers so know that it’s all downhill from here to U18. If his team stays together for the next 5 seasons he’ll have an enjoyable experience but I expect them to slowly drift away and he’ll end up playing Gold then Silver then Bronze and may even have to move to a different club.
And then when he reaches 18 his chances of playing the beautiful game rapidly approach ZERO.
How we manage to turn a popular and successful pastime into a non-existent adult activity is almost shameful. It takes a real talent to turn 500,000 kids into very little.