In 1972, fewer than 300,000 girls participated in high school sports in the U.S. In 2014, there will be more than 3 Million.
This healthy trend is due in no small part to Title IX, passed by Congress on June 23, 1972: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
With the 42nd anniversary of Title IX and Mother's Day both approaching, YESsoccer salutes all the soccer moms helping their daughters prepare to play soccer at the next level, whatever that level may be.
As the owner of YESsoccer I am proud to be part of a company that helps girls prepare to compete for the opportunities that Title IX has created in higher education. But as a Dad with a young daughter I can tell you that I am even more proud of the fact that YESsoccer helps girls prepare for healthier lives.
Research suggests that girls who participate in sports like soccer are less likely to suffer from depression, less likely to get pregnant, less likely to get involved with drugs, and more likely to graduate from high school than those who do not play sports.
With so much talk these days of gateway vices among kids - bad habits that lead to worse habits - YESsoccer is proud to provide girls a healthy gateway to the physical and psychological development that soccer at all levels offers.
Our YEScamps and Talent Schools are a great place for girls to start. Our "FUNdamentals" approach to beginner soccer means that girls are introduced to the beautiful game, along with their friends, in a creative, engaging environment.
My daughter, who is more of a ballerina than an athlete, simply calls this "going to YES." There is an element of dance in what we do, and she loves doing it among her friends. That's why one of our YEScamp cornerstones is "Invite A Friend."
Will my daughter play soccer at a Title IX level? Not likely. But I know that she has grown in self-confidence as a result of going to YES. She applies our FUNdamentals in her Saturday rec games, mixing it up, taking a few elbows, cheeks flushed, pigtails flying. That's a great value to me and to her mom.
YESsoccer actively recruits female coaches - positive role models like Simone Lodge, who works in our Chicago Fire Soccer In The Community affiliate. "When I was growing up in England, I was the only girl playing amongst the boys," Simone says. "Soccer helped me overcome my shyness and develop self-confidence."
And our effervescent Jaimie-Lee Emrith, pictured above right, smiling, who coached in our New England region, and is now working in finance back in England. Soccer was her gateway to a good career. Jaimie-Lee told me that she has found soccer to be the world's language, which makes it a nice complement to any path our daughters choose to follow, beyond Title IX.
Let's hear it for the girls, and their moms (and mums)!
Happy Mothers Day from YESsoccer.
H.B. Mertz has four kids and three Pittsburgh-based small businesses, including YESsoccer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter @YESPres.