Where to Sign Kids Up for Team Sports: The Usual & Unsual!
Playing a team sport is a rite of passage for most kids. Improved physical fitness, motor and social skills, team work, sportsmanship, self confidence, and new friendships are just a short list of the benefits it offers.
Deciding which sport…now that’s a different subject. Sure, we all know the usual cast of characters: soccer, baseball, basketball. But Kidsguide wants to introduce you to the unusual cast: badminton, roller derby, water polo…
While your budding athlete may love soccer this year, they may do a one-eighty by next fall. We want to make sure you’re suited up with solid out-of-left-field alternatives to suggest when the meltdown begins.
Note: Some of the sports included are more individual competition within a team… but hey…still a team, no less. All websites listed below offer information to find a team/league in your area.
Let’s put on those pom poms and go!
Baseball & Softball
American Fastpitch Association Softball – Girls fast pitch softball, slow pitch, baseball, and senior slow pitch.
Babe Ruth Baseball and Softball – Different divisions are based on age (4-18) and skill level. They also offer Buddy Baseball for kids (5-20) with special needs. To find a baseball or softball league in Southern California, visit the Pacific Southwest Division page. (800) 880-3142
Little League Baseball & Softball – Boys and girls baseball in age divisions (4-16), softball for girls (4-16) and Little League Challenger teams for boys and girls (4-22) with special needs. Find a baseball or softball league in Southern California on their website.
Pony Baseball & Softball – Co-ed baseball and girls’ softball leagues. Champions League is available for those with special needs.
The Miracle Leagues of Los Angeles and Orange County – Non-profit baseball leagues for people with disabilities. Both groups play on ADA compliant fields. Registration fees may apply, but financial aide is available. Visit their websites to find more information and registration details.
USA Softball of Southern California – USA Softball of Southern California organizes youth clinics, umpire seminars and conducts national qualifying tournaments in slow pitch and fast pitch for men, women and youth. They offer both a Junior Olympics Travel Program and a Recreational Program.
National Junior Basketball (NJB) offers youth leagues in California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada. They provide programs for boys and girls of different ages and skillsets, grades K through high school. Tournaments and summer camps are also offered. (888) 623-0124.
Football & Cheer
Friday Night Lights – Flag Football. They offer a league for boys and girls of different skill levels who are in grades K-8. Online registration for the fall season takes place during the month of May with practices beginning in August and games beginning in September. They also offer a sideline cheer program for kids. Cheer availability varies by location.
NFL Youth Flag Football – Kids ages 5-17 to learn the fundamentals of football and grow as leaders and teammates—all while being supported by the NFL. Find a league in your area or start one of your own.
Pop Warner – Flag and Tackle League for ages 5-15. Pop Warner teams have no tryouts or roster cuts, but instead offer a safe environment for kids to learn the fundamentals of football and team skills. Participants are required to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play. Pop Warner holds its own Super Bowl and National Championships, as well as an end-of-season banquet to celebrate the success of its players. Cheer and Dance program, and a Challenger Division for those with special needs, are available too.
American Youth Soccer Organization – AYSO programs offer player instruction that fosters a healthy and safe approach to the game. Programs range from ages 3-19. AYSO VIP is available for children with disabilities.
California Youth Soccer Association – Open to boys and girls ages 3 and up. Find the club/league locator on their website. Additional resources for parents regarding soccer player health and more also available.
Southern California Tennis Association – Programs for players (10-18), including teams, camps, clinics, and tournament, plus programs for players with disabilities. Scholarships available.
California Beach Volleyball Association – Beach volleyball teams and leagues or boys and girls ages 10-18
US Youth Volleyball League – Eight-week instructional youth volleyball leagues for boys and girls, coed for ages 7-16. Over 20 locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. (888) 988-7985
Junior Badminton programs and clubs are location throughout Southern California. Find a list of clubs, here.
Diving instruction and teams offer safe methods to bring your swimmer from the cannonball to the reverse dive with somersault. Find a club in your area through USA Diving on their website. Or by calling, (317) 237-5252.
Junior Derby Dolls – Derby classes for all levels of skaters. The first session is free! All you need is a mouthguard, additional equipment (helmet, elbow/knee pads, wrist guards) is available to borrow. Open to girls 7-17. Beach Cities Roller Derby – Junior derby program teaches all levels of skating and introduces kids to roller derby. They offer Mini Bites for kids 8-10 and Shark Bites for skaters 11-17.
Southern California Youth Rugby offers teams for ages 7+. Visit their website to find a club or high school program near you.
Southern California Swimming (SCS) oversees city and community club swim teams. They provide information on local clubs, calendar of events, and a schedule of upcoming meets with results and more. Find a swim club near you on their website.
Synchronized Swim Team
U.S. Synchronized Swimming provides information on synchronized swimming clubs, plus additional resources about synchronized swimming rules, scoring, coaches, and more. Visit their website to find a club near you. (719) 866-2219
Water Polo Team
USA Water Polo provides information on clubs, clinics, camps and tournaments for boys and girls (7+). Their website offers a list of clubs near you. (714) 500-5445.
More of a solo player? Check out this list of alternatives. You may find the perfect sport for your kids!