SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond pitched an idea Wednesday to get pitchers back on the field. Desmond proposed a program to waive fees parents would pay to register their kids to play youth sports in the county.
The Federal Government has allocated over $300 million to San Diego County, for recovery efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Desmond has submitted his proposal for American Rescue Plan Act funding, which includes $10 million to waive fees for recreational youth sports.
In other words, it would be free San Diego kids 18 and under to sign up for a sports league and play.
"COVID-19 has affected many San Diegans, especially kids who have been stuck in their home learning virtually and unable to play sports. As San Diego County recovers from the pandemic, many San Diegans are still struggling financially. Youth sports fees can cost hundreds of dollars per kid, which can put a strain on many families," Desmond said.
Sports can add up, some sports like football can cost $400 for each kid. Keeping mind, the proposed $10 million would not cover personal sports expenses like shoes.
"If we begin to quietly suppress our kids from even participating, if it's because we don't have access to a track and field [or] we don't have access to funds to sponsor some of these kids and their families to participate, we're slowly going to kill off our own sport," said Elizabeth Tate, USATF Youth Committee Vice-Chair.
Some local coaches said there are real athletic, academic, and social consequences if kids can’t afford to play sports.
"When my parents got divorced, my team was there," said Aaron Majors of the Skyline Youth Football & Spirit Association. "My coaches were there. When I had a loss in the family, my teams were there. My coaches were there."
The County Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposal on Tuesday, June 8.
WATCH: County leader pushes for program to waive youth sports fees in San Diego