According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), there are more than 15 million soccer players in the U.S. That ranks the sport as the third most popular team sport in this country. Basketball is number one with nearly 26 million players and baseball ranks second with just over 16 million players.
Whats significant about soccer is the high percentage of players who are considered core participants, i.e. those playing the game 25 days or more a year. In the U.S., nearly 56% of all indoor soccer players and roughly 46% of all outdoor soccer players participate on a core basis.
From a business perspective, wholesale sales of soccer balls, uniforms, cleats, goals, and accessories were $740 million in 2007, up from $721 million in 2006.
Listed below are some additional details on the soccer-playing population in the U.S.:
Go Girls. Since the 1990-91 school year, theres been a 185% increase in the number of girls playing high school soccer in the U.S.
Passionate Participants. Of those 4.2 million indoor soccer players, two-thirds of them (2.8 million) also play outdoor soccer.
Girls Got Game. Right now, nearly 50% of all high soccer players are females and more than 50% of all college soccer players are females.
Collegiate Connection. Soccer is the most popular NCCA sport for women and the number of women playing college soccer has grown by 226% since 1990-91.
Cool at School. Soccer is the fifth most popular sport for boys and girls in high school.
Financial Findings. 50% of outdoor soccer households have annual household incomes of at least $75,000 while 52% of indoor soccer households have annual household incomes of at least $75,000.
50/50 Split. 51% of all indoor and outdoor soccer players are 17 or younger while 49% of them are 18 or older.
Cross Training. The three most popular outside athletic pursuits for
indoor soccer players are outdoor soccer, bowling, and running/jogging.
The three most popular outside athletic pursuits for outdoor soccer players are bowling, basketball, and running/jogging.
While soccer has always been a game played mainly by children, thats no longer the case as nearly 30% of all soccer players are over the age of 24. Those players are competing in adult leagues that get together on weeknights and during the weekends.
“Millions of Americans have come to realize that soccer is a game that can be played and enjoyed well into your 30s, 40s, and 50s,” said SGMA president Tom Cove. “The existence of these adult soccer leagues-both indoor and outdoor — has given many players another chance to play a game they have enjoyed since childhood. Soccer is a sport that is driven by passion and the multicultural composition of the U.S. population helps fuel those feelings.”
“Were happy that soccer is an established sport in this country and getting the recognition given in the past to football, basketball, and baseball,” said Don Wetmore (Kwik Goal; Quakertown, PA). “Demand for our product is steady and strong throughout the year. This is great for business in the years to come.”
“The demand for our soccer balls among physical education teachers and in local recreational soccer leagues is strong. Our soccer balls sales are driven by brand recognition we get from other sports,” said Chris Morton of Tachikara USA; Sparks, NV. “Besides conventional sporting goods retail outlets, soccer balls are being purchased these days from team dealers, at soccer specialty stores, out of catalogs, and online.”
“Were noticing more gatherings of adults in the spring and summer who play midday pick-up games,” said Matt Godek of Matt Godek Rugby & Soccer Supply; Merrifield, VA. “On the youth level, parents of children on winning programs are willing to spend more money for their childrens sport. In a nutshell, success breeds spending.”
The sources of these facts and figures on soccer are SGMAs Manufacturers Sales by Category Report (2008 edition) and U.S. Trends in Team Sports (2008 edition). Both are available from SGMA.