One family’s spending on youth soccer

CLICK HERE for a sobering article on the money (and time) spent on competitive youth soccer by one family near Sacramento.

Typical annual spending: $17,000. Tournaments in places like San Diego and Santa Cruz. Sound familiar?

Author: James

Lifelong player and student of the beautiful game in Germany, England, and USA. Volunteer futsal coach and USSF referee.

6 thoughts on “One family’s spending on youth soccer”

  1. As coach of my Class 3A girls team that ended in 2011, I charged $500 per year (included reg, uniform, and 4 tournaments – travel was separate but only 1-2 were non-local ). Our big cost savings was no trainer fees (I was a nationally licensed coach). I paid my daughter’s fees like everyone else, and seemed to be an anomaly: the parent coach. We focused on fun and development, and had good success on (and off) the field. We didn’t send players to college soccer programs (as many programs strive to do), but were *very* competitive. The girls went on to study at colleges such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Cal Poly, Arizona, Georgetown, Boston College and UCLA. The girls had a great time with their teammates, and we felt that we offered a good value for what the players – and parents – were looking for. Hopefully such lower-cost choices still exist (while still getting a strong soccer education). Best of luck and have fun!


    1. Thank you for sharing, Rob. The parent coach is definitely on the endangered list nowadays. Comp soccer seems to have become much more professionalized these last 5 to 10 years and the demands on our top youth players have increased considerably too. And I think this trend will continue to intensify in the coming years.

      I think it comes down to what the real goals should be for a youth player and in too many cases parents trade too much intensity and competition for the youth player’s enjoyment and social development. Your team seemed to have the right balance that worked well for your group of families. And $500 per year sounds awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If you have 4 soccer playing kids and they happen to play for one of the 2 or 3 top clubs in the south bay, you’re already in for $2300 to $2500 per kid including uniforms..and they still hit you up for donations.
    So pretty quickly you’re looking at $10k a year…and tournaments just add on to that.

    We’re currently at the a very reasonably priced top-level club and it’s still $1300 per year including uniforms and a couple local tournaments.
    So even a family of 4 at such a club is in it for $5k a year.

    When I was a kid, our sports teams always had sponsors which picked up the bulk of the costs…but back then the thought of a professional coach for youth teams was unheard of…not even a starter. Here, the parent coached teams are the odd-balls it seems.
    Even on a parent coached team we were on a few years ago, it was about $800 a year including uniforms and a couple of tournaments.


    1. I took my kids to three San Diego weekend tourneys this summer and one more coming up this Thanksgiving. Each trip is around $1,500, including flights, hotel, food, fees. So I spent around $5,000 just for a couple of tourneys these last few months. Add to this the State Cup weekends in Sacramento and smaller tourneys and my family is looking at probably $8,000 per year just for tourneys. I estimate my total soccer spending to be around $15,000 per year for my three kids.


      1. yikes…maybe Money should have interviewed your family :).

        We did a socal tournament recently…probably cost about $700 for 4 for 3 and a half days…driving down and staying in a medium quality hotel. Food was a good chunk of that.


        1. We drove down once as a family which was cheaper than two of us flying and renting a car (but we had to spend more on a larger hotel room). But on the other occasions we didn’t have the luxury of leaving earlier and returning later to drive the 9 hours one way so flying was the only practical option. Your $700 all-in is very good cost control!


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