Hey you. On The Pitch readers. Yes, all ten of you… I have a question.

Recent estimates point out that 17 million kids in America play soccer. I know parents of youth soccer players who can sit and talk for HOURS about youth soccer – in a good way. But there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of online discussion going on related to youth soccer overall, especially at the younger and recreational levels. Part of that is obviously due to parents being more interested and involved as their kids move into travel teams, etc. Many state/regional soccer forums are active, though many will focus on a certain area like select/travel teams at the higher levels. But there aren’t that many generic ‘youth soccer’ discussion forums out there. BigSoccer has one, but posts to it are infrequent.

Considering how many parent questions I answer as a league administrator each season and how many Google referrals to On The Pitch are searches in the form of a question, it strikes me that there is a need. Part of the mission of On The Pitch is to discuss interesting questions and aspects of youth soccer, but posts I write are usually just about questions I find interesting. There are bound to be many others to start off some discussion.

So my question to you is this – is it worth setting up a forum dedicated to youth soccer at On The Pitch? Would you use it? If so, what topics do you think we should have forums for? I can think of a few. League Administration, Youth Officiating, Equipment, Travel, The Sidelines (talk about being a spectator), Fitness, Coaching, etc. Can you suggest any others? it would be fun to integrate the forum discussions into more formal blog posts and I’ve always been open to guest posters at OTP – that would be fun.

Implementing the forums would be fairly easy and they would integrate into the site (see http://plugins.baptiste.us and click Forums for another site where I have a small forum integrated into the main blog site) I would do something similar here. I realize forums can get out of hand so we’d monitor it and take care of users just causing trouble. But I’m just curious if there is even a need. It feels like there is given how popular youth soccer is and how many questions new parents have. But maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to setup nifty new site features :)

What do you think?