We have a long way to go in the United States before we can crow about the level of participation in the sport of soccer. The article on the US Soccer Players web site sounds like good news – and it is mostly – but it’s not good enough.
Basketball can boast of 36,583,000 players in the United States. When you consider that most basketball teams field ten or fewer players and most soccer teams field at least 14 you can see that the number of teams in organized play skews the numbers even more strongly towards basketball. The number of Basketball teams is roughly 36,583,000/10 while the number of soccer teams in the United States is roughly 17,641,000/14.
So kids, your homework assignment is to figure out how much larger basketball is then soccer in the United States. And of course, where am I going with this perverse logic? We need to reduce the number of players on the field (and hence the number of players per team) at the younger age. Make it more interesting for the players by increasing the number of touches. Increase each players influence by putting fewer players on the field.