on air now

The cost of Youth sport stretching parents to the limit

Earlier in the year, Mark Levy received an email from a parent, who wants to remain nameless, complaining about the representative soccer teams who are thumping the opposition by 15 goals to nil each week.

The email explained that kids are being identified by these academy teams and forking out huge money, so they get the best training and adopt a winning mentality each week, over having fun. Apparently the parents are paying in excess of 1500 dollars for a child to be picked in an academy team which is nothing more than a money making exercise for the club officials. The email was very honest in saying her 12 year old son isn’t the best player, but he enjoys having a run around with his mates so, she was surprised when one of these academy coaches wanted to sign him.

They told her everything she wanted to hear but, at the same time, she was awake to the fact her son wasn’t a superstar in the making, he was just an average player, so she told the bloke to go and jump.

Is that really what’s happening in junior sport at the moment? kids being used as bumper bars by bigger kids and academy coaches preying on parents?

What’s the answer — what can we do to make it a level playing field for the kids — and are the sporting bodies doing enough to ensure they don’t lose anymore kids from their respective codes?

We got in touch with a few of the Development Managers in Rugby League and Soccer to find out if they’re aware of these academies charging exorbitant amounts of money but, no response from them.

Are parents being taken for a ride and ripped off by these so-called sporting academies where Mums and Dads are handing over thousands of dollars to enroll their kids?