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U.S.A. Women's Soccer Thriving Thanks To Youth Programs

Date: 7/21/11

The SGMA Salutes the Efforts of the U.S. National Women’s Squad

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 21, 2011 – On the heels of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team reaching the final of the Women’s World Cup this past weekend in Germany, it is important to remember that many of the players on the field got their start in one of the hundreds of youth soccer programs across the country. 

According to VJ Mayor, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Associations’ (SGMA) Soccer Industry Council of America (SICA) representative, “Girls represent almost 36% of all soccer players in this country. In all, there are more than five million females playing the sport of soccer right now in the United State.  And nearly 70% of those five million females are under the age of 17.”

“That level of participation provides an excellent pipeline for our elite national teams, like the one that just finished as the runner-up in the World Cup in Germany.” commented Tom Cove, CEO and president of the SGMA. “The performance by our women’s national team during the World Cup just goes further to highlight how important it is, not just for girls but for all young people, to get out on the field and enjoy the many benefits from playing a great game like soccer.”

With the recent developments in Congress regarding school budget cuts for FY2012, the concept of ‘getting out on a school playing field to enjoy the many benefits from playing soccer’ may pose to be a difficult task for our children to achieve.

“Currently, many members of Congress want to slash school budgets and cut the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), a national physical activity initiative supported by SGMA. The PEP Program has provided more than $600 million in physical education funding to schools and community-based organizations to implement and expand quality P.E.” states Cove. “These budgets cuts would be detrimental to our children, based on the results from a recent study by the CDC that indicates that nearly 90% of U.S. high school students fail to meet the bare minimum exercise requirements for healthy living.”

According to Lynne Manual, vice president of marketing for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), one of the nation’s largest youth soccer organizations, “The youth soccer programs in this country are critical to the development of the next soccer superstars in this country -- both for the girls and the boys. Players like Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Christie Rampone need a place to get their first experiences playing soccer. It all starts with youth sports in this country and seeing the results of our World Cup team is a real delight for all of us in the sport here in the states.”

There is other news to report which further magnifies how significant the World Cup effort was by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team was:

  • Hope Solo and Abby Wambach were guests on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Tuesday, July 19.
  • Wambach and her teammates were interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, July 19.
  • At the end of the match on Sunday, there were more than 7,000 tweets per second on Twitter about the finale between the United States and Japan.
  • Roughly 13.5 million people watched the game on ESPN.
  • U.S. National Team players Shannon Boxx, Rachel Buehler, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Amy Rodriguez played their youth soccer with the American Youth Soccer Organization.
  • With a 7.4 rating, the Women’s World Cup final was the highest rated soccer match ever broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.  A rating point represents the percentages of television sets in the US which were being used that were tuned into that game.
  • This match had the sixth highest rating of any soccer match ever broadcast in the U,S.
  • U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo is on the front cover of the July 25th edition of Sports Illustrated. 

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership, and product promotion. More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA’s National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.sgma.com.

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