High school boys, girls soccer teams attract high participation numbers in Maine

As the 2013-14 high school sports season gets underway in full this week, I thought it would be interesting to look at some numbers. How many young men and women are playing sports these days? In Maine? Around the country?

The National Federation of State High School Associations has released the numbers from the past school year and here are some of the highlights…

– In total, 7.7 million participate in high school sports in this country. That number has gone up for 24 straight years.

– The number of girls playing high school sports in the USA is 3,333,723. That is a record-breaking number.

– 11-man football is the most popular boys program nationwide, 1,086,627.

– Outdoor track and field tops girls programs, 472,939.

Now for some of the state of Maine numbers…

– 53,634 youngsters play high school sports in Maine last year (28,858 boys, 24,776 girls). That is up 642 from the previous year.

– More boys play soccer in Maine than any other sport (4,169).

– Basketball is No. 2 (3,781). Football is No. 3 (3,744).

– Numbers do not support the idea many have that baseball is dying. Baseball is No. 4 (3,343), up slightly from previous year.

– There are more boys playing lacrosse (1,867) than playing ice hockey (1,179).

– Combine indoor and outdoor track and field and you’ve got the No. 1 boys participation (4,407).

– I was surprised to see 104 schools offer golf in Maine with 1,114 boys playing.

– (3,895) girls play soccer in Maine. (That makes it #2 in participation boys or girls).

– Girls basketball is No. 2 (3,039). Softball is No. 3 (2,794).

–  was surprised to see the number for field hockey (2,411).

– Only 129 girls/58 teams played golf. I know some girls play on boys teams but that seems like a growth sport for the future.

– The 5th most popular girls sport in Maine is Competitive Spirit Squads (1,646).

I realize I cover athletics for a living, but these numbers should give some food for thought to those who have to wrestle with school budgets…High school athletics are a big deal in Maine and nationwide.

ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:

– I wonder how much money the Patriots made selling Tebow jerseys before cutting him.

– Taking Daniel Bard off the 40-man roster to make room for outfielder Quinten Berry? Bad move.

– Here’s hoping former Mt. Ararat HS pitcher Mark Rogers gets picked up when he becomes a free agent after the world series…bet he does.

– Isn’t September better when the Red Sox are relevant.

– Get your Frozen Fenway Franks here-aah!!! Maine hockey vs BU on the night of January 11th. Dress warmly.

– It happens every year…as most high school soccer teams begin their season this week, the Easton Bears are almost halfway through their schedule. The Bears have a 29 day layoff coming…the spuds must come out of the ground!

– The new look high school football season begins this week…looking forward to bringing you two games on opening weekend on Sports Radio 92.9 The Ticket – Friday 7 p.m. Foxcroft at Hermon, Saturday 7 p.m. EL at Bangor.