Youth Sports Highlight Reel

May is Mental Health Awareness Month—and Youth Sports are a Huge Outlet for Mental Health

By Melissa Wickes
May 21, 2024
3 min

May is Mental Health Awareness Month—and this goes hand-in-hand with your job in youth sports because sports, when approached correctly, can be a massive outlet for mental health.

Despite this resounding conclusion, youth communities who are the most at-risk (like low-income and LGBTQ+) are still not playing as much as others.

Organizations like the Aspen Institute, LeagueApps, and the FundPlay Foundation are working to minimize the participation gap—and the annual Project Play Summit last week was one of the opportunities for youth sports champions to get together and solve for some of these issues.

Read this week’s Youth Sports Highlight Reel so you can stay as informed as possible on how to grow the game.

Youth Sports News

1. Dick’s Sporting Goods and WNBA announced a girls’ apparel collection—marking the first collaboration between the two brands.

2.  [VIDEO] US lawmakers, Capitol Hill staffers, and famous athletes came together in Washington to play soccer and raise money for youth soccer programs in underserved communities.

3. The Aspen Institute’s annual Project Play Summit, a conference that highlights the importance of sports, was this past week.

4. [VIDEO] This outrageous flop in a youth basketball game is going viral.

5. A New Jersey youth soccer coach faces 22 charges involving child sexual abuse.

6. Due to a lack of participants, the Saratoga Recreation Department has canceled its 2024 youth soccer season. The town’s recreation director is asking for input from parents on how to increase the player count in the future.

7. Tyneika Thomas, an inspirational youth sports leader in Virginia, is being awarded the Child and Youth Services Award of Excellence for her dedication to her community.

8. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, participation in high school lacrosse grew by 528 percent from 1990 to 2008, with a steady climb until 2020. Now, it could see another spike in participation—here’s why.

9. The US Soccer application window for its A-Youth Coaching Education Courses opened yesterday. The course is intended to guide participations in developing competencies to perform a coaching role in a high-performance youth team environment.

10. New research shows a drop in LGBTQI+ youth participation in sports—from 47% between 2019 and 2022 to 33% in 2023.

11. [VIDEO] A Douglas County, Colorado baseball team already had to turn away 100 kids due to lack of field space, and now the county would wipe out even more fields in a plan to expand the Fairgrounds for the county fair. Parents and coaches are fighting to save the sports facilities.

12. Girls softball will be the next women’s sport to take off, according to this column.

13. The city of Newport News started a youth basketball initiative to keep kids out of trouble during the summer. 

14. A fire destroyed most of Dana Point Youth Baseball’s coaches’ shed on May 13—the organization started a GoFundMe to help replace what they’ve lost.

15. Despite the excitement around women and girls’ sports in Iowa, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Association is facing scheduling conflicts for girl’s state finals in golf and tennis.

16. Brazil will host the first Women’s World Cup in South America—and the impact could grow the game in the region. 

This Weekend’s Wins

1. Shoutout to the CT Junior Rangers teams who are winning hardware in the offseason!

2. Congrats to Ryder Esposito of the Smithtown Kickers on his commitment to Mount Saint Mary College!

3. Seattle United G14 Samba are the state cup champs!

4.  Congrats Omaha Evolution Soccer Club U18 on winning the Evolution Invitational!

5. Congrats FC Stars 2007 ECNL Boys on becoming the first-ever ECNL Boys Northeast Conference Champions in club history!

6. Congrats Galaxy SC G2008 GA on going 14-0-0 in the Girls Academy Midwest Conference league!

7. Congratulations Pace Setters Soccer Club 2012 and 2011 on becoming State Cup Champs!

8. Congrats NKYVC 13 Tsunami and Coach Kori for finishing 4th in Gold in Open at the Indy Cup!

9. Congratulations to Jr. Vipers 1 AA who took first place at the Glacier Invitational this weekend!

The SPORTSDOG Storytellers Contest invites athletes grades 10-12 to submit their youth sports story for the chance to win big ($$$).

Youth Sports Resources

Jeremy Goldberg speaks about youth sports funding at the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Summit last week.

Youth Sports Resources

1. How to put your kids through sports without breaking the bank

2. Youth Soccer’s Sad Scenes: Angry Adults

3. Supporting the Mental Health of Players on Your Team