Soccer has taken over from swimming as the most popular sporting activity among Australian kids, according to a recent survey.
The Roy Morgan Research Young Australians Survey found that, over the past 12 months, participation in the round ball game grew nationally by three per cent (108,000) for children aged 6-13. This means half of all Australian children are now part of a soccer team.
The annual survey, which compiles data on the leisure activities of children, and how they are evolving, also revealed that for the first time more girls were now playing soccer than netball.
Roy Morgan Research deputy CEO Hugh Amoyal said this move away from the traditionally female-oriented sport of netball was “particularly interesting”.
“Whether this is due to the ‘Matildas effect’, changing physical education programs in Australian schools, or a mixture of both, is yet to be determined,” he said. “But it is a step towards a more gender-based approach.”
In June 2014, 50 per cent of Aussie kids (1,213,000 children) reported going swimming, ahead of 47 per cent (1,136,000) who played soccer. Since then, soccer has risen to a 50 per cent participation rate (1,244,000) while swimming has plunged to 48 per cent (32,000 children).
While there has also been a rise in sports such as athletics, cricket and Australian Rules football, that growth has been minimal compared with the boom in soccer players. – Produced by Fiona West and presented by Lachlan Brunton
Top image: screenshot from video