The cost of youth sports

Any truth?

My friend’s coworker has a kid who just finished his varsity hockey career at Penn State. He did the whole developmental bit, of course, from little kids all the way through AAA and eventually the USHL.

My friend asked his coworker—an accounting guy—if the money they spent was worth it. The coworker said the money they spent on his son’s youth hockey career was several thousand more than a free ride, out-of-state, to Penn State.

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Our granddaughter lives in Colorado and plays club soccer. She is now a senior in high school. Her club soccer fee is above the thousand dollar range. They have home and away uniforms and warmups, team bags etc. She has played on same team (u19)for 2 years. Fee is for one year. They play all over. Our daughter goes to many away games. We went to Vail for a tournament. No Motel 6’s in Vail. So yeah , club sports can be very expensive.

There is no truth to that. Billy Joel is not coming to Toledo.

My kids are musicians. When they were young, we were blown away by the amount our friends were spending on travel sports. As time progressed, we ended up spending a decent amount on local lessons, weekly travel from Columbus to Cleveland for lessons, national and international travel to competitions, new violins and bows, and a new piano and keyboard. Fortunately, this led to free tuition plus partial living expenses at Rice and 75% tuition at Cincinnati. That private school tuition made our experience profitable.


@Smithspike Same thing happened with my kid. Tier 1 travel hockey in the Seattle/Vancouver area plus multiple summer camps was costing about $6k - $10k a year. Moving to Juniors at age 16 would have cost even more.

But he was also a Presidential Scholar in a highly capable public school program. Scored a 99% percentile on the PSAT prep school admission test, attended the Pre-Prep Showcase in Salem, NH and was immediately recruited by New England junior boarding schools and prep schools. From age 13 on he boarded at elite schools and played hockey right on campus in first class facilities. He got about $40k a year in financial aid - costing me about $9k a year for everything - including hockey, baseball, room and board and a first class education. The prep hockey and academic experience catapulted him into a NESCAC Little Ivy school with about $45 a year in financial aid. In college they even provided his sticks (about $250 a pop). Everything came together. His athletic talent coupled with high achievement in academics was the key.


Outstanding! Great combination of athletic skills and academic excellence. Congrats and great job, Dad.

My son played baseball and basketball from about age 6 through high school. Basketball is pretty cheap. Shorts, unis, lots of Nike’s. Baseball was a different animal. Because he could play multiple positions, he had 4 different A2000 Wilson gloves. About $200 a pop many years ago. He was primarily a catcher so to protect him, got him top line Wilson catchers gear. Did that more than a couple he grew. He played on an elite travel team with tournaments, including CABA World Series in Tulsa and Dublin, Oh (almost a home tourney). Also, tournaments in Chicago, St Louis,Columbus and places I have forgotten. He also played in a Michigan/Ohio and Mich/indiana AAU ball. Four games every weekend at home and on road. Bats started at about $50 and steadily increased to about $250 for a top line aluminum. Usually two a year. Cleats–top line Nike’s, of course–were replace about 2-3 times per season and a new pair for the world series events. And I would do it again in a heartbeat!
I have no grandsons and will not have any. But my three granddaughters are athletes. Two are gymnasts who practice five days/wk for four hours/day. The other one is a multi-sport kid. Her dad played soccer in college so she plays that and gymnastics. My daughter is a diplomat currently serving in Malaysia, but even there sports are a pretty big thing for kids. Great times as a dad and g-dad.


Thanks. Being realistic about possibilities and open to alternatives seemed to be the key. I agree with you that I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

My kid was being recruited by Brown and Holy Cross for hockey as a junior at Berkshire but tore his ACL during the first game as a senior and missed the entire season. He’d been an All Western New England second baseman and missed his senior season of baseball, as well. D1 recruiting stoped but he still had interest from a few elite academic D3 programs. Injuries - particularly in football, hockey and - for pitchers - in baseball are the unpredictable evils waiting out there to kill blossoming careers.

After deciding not to play one year of Junior Hockey without a college commitment, he chose Hamilton and played two years of hockey before dropping out of the program and concentrating on academics and baseball. He had a career year as a Senior - hitting .304 and graduated with honors in Econ and a minor in jurisprudence.

After picking up a law degree at UChicago, he’s now working in the world of high tech finance in San Francisco now and playing hockey in the proverbial “beer leagues” out there.

Adaptability and flexibility are key.


Not exactly on topic, but IMG Academy was just sold for $1.5 billion.

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Sorry, $1.25 Billion.

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Heck, what’s a quarter billion here or there?

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Yep. Saw that. Kind of blew me away! Are they selling the kids they develop to Alabama and LSU? Lol


As the late Senator Everett Dirksen used to say about the federal budget, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”