In December 2019, "Keep It Regional!" went public on a reason why the Ohio Valley Premier League was created. A tl;dr version is: every year there are 8300 boys and 7400 girls in the Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio region that finish high school soccer with no where to continue their careers. These players need a place to continue playing, so the OVPL is offering that opportunity.
Any given youth soccer statistic for the US shows there are between 3 million and 4 million youth soccer players and between 6,000-9,000 youth soccer clubs. A breakdown of youth soccer numbers (estimates) looks like this:
- Under 10 -- 37%
- 10-14 -- 48%
- 15-17 -- 12%
- 18-19 -- 3%
Some estimations have between 11 million and 25 million total soccer players in the US across all ages. No matter how much you search, there is no agreement on how many players in the US are playing The Beautiful Game. Some studies show that soccer participation is declining -- by nearly 100,000 players each year for the last 5 years.
Adult soccer numbers registered and affiliated with USASA estimate 250,000 adults in the US playing soccer. That is an average of 5,000 adults per state. In the OVPL region alone, there are 15,700 males and females who graduate yearly from HS. How do we go from adding 15,700 soccer players to the player pool every year to a 5,000 adult soccer player number? Some states have a great presence of adult players, others have little-to-no presence.
The reliance on interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics greatly reduces the amount of roster spots for competitive soccer players aged 16-23+. If a player cannot play in high school or college, for a variety of reasons, their soccer playing career is essentially done. Once a player graduates from playing either high school or college, their careers are most likely done.
Competitive soccer careers should not be dependent upon an educational system. Communities. Individuals. Corporations. Organizations. These are the driving forces behind continuing competitive soccer careers. If there are between 6,000-9,000 youth soccer clubs, how are there not more than 250,000 adults playing the sport? Soccer does not stop once someone graduates school or ages out of a club. The opportunity to play for YOUR community should not only exist during the high school playing days. You can have your own community club playing now.
The OVPL provides an opportunity for 16-23+ year old players to continue their playing careers locally, regionally, and nationally. Playing as a competitive young adult enables players to stay in the game longer, to increase the likelihood of the next generation to continue in the game. Stay healthy by playing. Create more bonds by working with a team. Connect communities through competition in soccer.
#growthegame through #OVPL2020