Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

The Cost of Club Soccer in America

Soccer is a beloved sport in America, but it comes at a price. The “pay-to-play” model has sparked debates and criticisms, as it can exclude children from lower-income families. While the need for change is acknowledged by some soccer icons, such as Briana Scurry and Hope Solo, the reality is that families continue to bear the financial burden to ensure their children can play the sport they love. So, just how much does it cost to play club soccer in America?

how much does it cost to play soccer

Parents pay thousands every year for club soccer

According to Time magazine, the average family spends $1,472 per child annually for youth soccer. However, this figure represents the lower end of the spectrum. When it comes to elite clubs, the cost can skyrocket to over $10,000 per child. These exorbitant fees make it clear why the pay-to-play system is seen as exclusive and prohibitive for lower-income families.

Where does all that money go?

For families with multiple children playing soccer, the costs can quickly add up. A case study conducted by reveals that families can pay around $330 per month in membership fees and $1,050 per year in registration fees per child. This means that a family with two kids playing club soccer can spend nearly $10,000 per year on fees alone. While this may seem outrageous, it’s important to note that these fees support the infrastructure of the club, including staffing, coaching, and participation in tournaments. Unfortunately, the expenses don’t end there.

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There are invisible costs to playing soccer, too

The financial commitment to club soccer extends beyond membership and registration fees. According to the same case study, families typically spend an additional $8,900 per year on travel expenses, gear, and private training. This includes costs associated with gas, hotels, meals, and other incidental expenses related to club soccer. Altogether, families may end up paying close to $20,000 annually to support their child’s participation in club soccer.

This disparity in costs means that children from lower-income families may miss out on opportunities. The most expensive clubs often attract the attention of college and national team recruiters. Consequently, talented children who cannot afford to join these elite teams may be overlooked, despite their skill and potential.


Q: Is club soccer the only option for children to play soccer in America?
A: No, there are other avenues for children to play soccer, including school teams and local community programs that may be more affordable.

Q: Are there any financial assistance programs available for families who cannot afford club soccer fees?
A: Some clubs and organizations offer scholarships or sliding scale fees to help lower-income families participate in club soccer.

Q: How can we make soccer more inclusive and accessible to all children?
A: Advocating for changes to the pay-to-play model, increasing funding for community programs, and providing more opportunities for talent identification in non-elite clubs are some potential solutions.


Club soccer in America is an expensive endeavor, with families spending thousands of dollars each year to support their children’s participation. The pay-to-play model raises concerns about inclusivity and the opportunities available to talented players from lower-income backgrounds. While the cost may be justified by the investments required to run a club, it is essential to find ways to make soccer more accessible and affordable for all children, regardless of their financial situation.

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Discover more about soccer and player statistics on Pesstatsdatabase.