The Korrio Youth Soccer Leadership Survey, conducted earlier this year, polled a mix of youth soccer leadership from organizations across the United States. The survey was designed to gauge youth soccer management trends in technology, volunteer support, sportsmanship, and parental commitment.
"The Korrio Youth Soccer Leadership Survey reflects a desire to understand the challenges and difficulties that youth soccer organizations are facing today," said Steve Goldman, CEO of Korrio. "The survey results identified the unique challenges and positive trends within US youth soccer, which serves nearly 4 million kids in the United States."
Overloaded Volunteers Mean Shorter Volunteer Tenures
The survey results show a positive trend for the youth soccer market - a period of tremendous growth - that has created a substantial volume of administrative work, with nearly 40 percent of volunteers and staff spending more than 30 hours per week during the soccer season on administrative tasks. Another 25 percent spend more than 60 hours on league and team administration. More than 72 percent of survey respondents cited escalating participation as the primary reason for the skyrocketing workload associated with youth soccer organizations.
The growth of the youth soccer market comes at a time, according to survey results, when leagues are facing increasing challenges in terms of volunteer recruitment and commitment. Fifty-six percent of respondents cited volunteer recruitment and staffing as the most substantial administrative hurdle facing their organizations in 2011. Soccer organizations reported that more than 55 percent of volunteers serve for between one to three seasons, requiring leadership to spend additional time recruiting volunteers.
"There is no question that the high turnover rate among volunteers creates considerable issues for youth soccer," said Goldman. "The challenge that youth soccer organizations face in terms of managing the sport's growth is directly linked to the volume of administrative tasks and hours involved in volunteer work. The amount of work appears to be eroding the level and duration of volunteers' commitment. As a soccer parent and volunteer, I know how hard it is to take on this extra work on top of life's many other responsibilities."
Technology, Communication, and Social Media Pose Additional Challenges for Sport
Technology poses another area of concern for the youth soccer industry. Survey results revealed that nearly 50 percent of youth soccer organizations use three or more different systems to manage their administrative functions. Communication challenges also were cited by more than 45 percent of respondents as a leading factor in the increased workload.
The survey uncovered differing opinions regarding the use of social media platforms. Social media remains on the sidelines for the majority of teams (59 percent), although 41 percent are using Twitter and Facebook as part of club communications.
Good News for Kids and Parents: Better Behaved, More Involved
The survey included highly positive news, with respondents reporting that on-field behavior has shown improvement across the country. A resounding 80 percent of survey respondents reported that player sportsmanship has remained the same or improved in the last five seasons. The kids weren't the only ones showing improvement; 69 percent of respondents noted that parents' sideline behavior was good or excellent last season.
Parental involvement in youth soccer also remains remarkably high, with 75 percent of survey respondents reporting that parents are either "committed" or "highly committed" to their children's teams, attending most games and other team functions. Equally impressive, 80 percent responded that parental involvement in youth soccer is either the same or more involved than it was five years ago.
"The improvements in sportsmanship and increased parental commitment indicate that youth soccer organizations are succeeding at their primary goal of fostering positive physical, mental and emotional growth and development," said Goldman. "The sport's continued success depends upon the support of parents and youth soccer's long-standing reputation as a safe and friendly game for players and fans alike, so these results are very encouraging."
Copies of the complete Korrio Youth Soccer Leadership Survey results are available for interested media upon request.