Youth Athletes United — a multi-brand franchisor that includes Soccer Stars, Amazing Athletes, TGA Sports, JumpBunch and Little Rookies — has had longstanding success and recognition in communities throughout the U.S., encouraging children to participate and try new sports in a safe environment. The athletic franchise five-some has 291 territories nationwide and more than 200,000 children are instructed each year with a goal of impacting 1 million children every year.
Youth Athletes United began with co-founders CEO Adam Geisler and President John Erlandson. Geisler and Erlandson, with the help of investors, purchased the five brands — each with a longstanding history of success. Youth Athletes United became the “parent company” as of November 2021.
Geisler noted that before establishing Youth Athletes United, there was little to no modernization in the industry and the needs were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve found new and unique ways to service curriculum and activities that haven’t been done before that allow us to meet families where they are rather than force them to meet at one singular location,” said Geisler. “So whether we’re doing private groups at people’s homes or we’re running classes inside of malls or at the local field, we look at how we can continue to provide more programming content to more kids to reach our million-kids-a-year goal for our business.”
He also emphasized that the concept of creating one of the largest youth sports franchise platforms to provide best-in-class content across multiple activities for kids has been years in the making.
“We believe that every kid is an athlete,” said Geisler. “With 20-plus-years of experience creating fun, engaging content, our goal is to impact more than 1 million kids a year through our programs and encourage more and more children to participate in sports across the country.”
According to a recent study by the CDC, children ages 6-11 years are currently reporting BMI that is 2.5 times as high as the pre-pandemic rate.
“Youth Athletes United needs to be at the forefront of getting more kids active through our programs, especially as access to many community programs have become less accessible across the country,” Geisler said. “Today, we impact more than 200,000 kids annually, which is almost 20 million calories burned a year! This is the leadership role we plan on taking in the space and the impact we want to have in the community.”
Movement for Everyone
Families spend an average of $693 on one youth sport per year, driving the $19 billion youth sports market. Franchisees with Youth Athletes United brands have an evolving curriculum that has pivoted seamlessly through challenging economic conditions.
While many schools and daycare centers are incentivized to prioritize academic work — often neglecting physical education — Youth Athletes United addresses this gap and gets children moving and engaged in a variety of sports from a young age.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supports the importance of movement from an early age, stating that “adolescents who play sports are eight times more likely to be physically active at age 24 than those who do not play sports.” The same report credits youth sports with increased life skills, leadership qualities, self-esteem and lower rates of anxiety and depression.
“Ultimately, our leadership team and franchisees are all super passionate about the impact we can have on the youth of today, especially through sports,” said John Erlandson, President of Youth Athletes United. “It’s why we do what we do and why we will never stop working to be able to touch the lives of a million kids every year. We really want all kids to know they are truly athletes inside and out and to build all the confidence that comes with that.”
Soccer Stars Pioneers New Curriculum to Encourage Lifelong Athleticism
Backed by over 20 years of experience, Soccer Stars offers the nation’s most popular youth soccer programs for children ages 1-16, set in a fun, stress-free environment. Soccer Stars’ crib-to-college programming introduces young athletes to the fundamentals of soccer with a unique, age-specific curriculum. Kids can enjoy private or group classes, summer camps and even development and travel programs. Soccer Stars has 54 corporately owned territories nationwide, and while the brand didn’t previously franchise, it is beginning to now.
Soccer Stars’ goal is to use the soccer ball as a vehicle to help children improve their soccer skills while simultaneously building self-confidence, enhancing gross motor skills, honing socialization skills and developing physical literacy. Dynamic, local and international coaches work with small groups of players to develop these skills and teamwork in a fun, non-competitive, educational environment.
Dean Simpson, Chief Programs Officer, emphasized the impact the program has had on some of the most successful soccer players.
“The most telling event, I think, was when our U14 [soccer] team won nationals in 2018,” Simpson said. “The majority of those kids started with us [at Soccer Stars] at age three or four. It really shows that sports at that age need to be more than just running around and chasing a ball. Learning cues at that early stage are important. As it stands now, most kids typically stop playing sports at 6-8 years old. Children need to have a supportive outlet and the confidence to get out and play, so we are really working to undo this statistic.”
Multi-sport Program, Amazing Athletes, Teaches the Fundamentals
With 148 corporate and franchise territories across the nation, Amazing Athletes is the largest multi-sport education program in the country. Instructors teach the fundamentals of athletics, as well as nutrition and education of muscle groups in a preschool-based program.
Kids learn the fundamentals of 10 sports and are guided through the six key areas of motor development and physical literacy. With expert coaches operating in top schools and facilities across more than 32 states, Amazing Athletes is on a mission to keep kids active with engaging content that teaches them about life skills and teamwork.
TGA Premier Sports Furthers Athlete Enrichment in Its Golf and Tennis Curricula
Founded in Los Angeles, California, TGA Sports has had longstanding success and recognition from communities across the U.S. Currently, TGA Premier Sports has 63 territories nationwide. Participants in TGA Premier Sports — the nation’s only youth golf and tennis enrichment brand in the country — range from ages 6-16. TGA’s programming is uniquely positioned to teach golf and tennis in any open environment, without having to be at a course or court. Additionally, TGA offers a variety of team sports, including volleyball, cheerleading, ultimate, floor hockey, lacrosse, and flag football.
Laura Sappington, COO of TGA Premier Sports, said passion, integrity, communication and resilience have been integral to creating a successful business model to best impact children.
“As a brand that caters to children, it is especially important that TGA Premier Sports has a good relationship with its franchisees,” Sappington said. “What unites the brand’s corporate team and franchisees is the shared passion of making sports accessible for kids and the desire to make a positive impact on people and in communities.”
JumpBunch Offers Variety and Movement
Established youth sports and activities brand JumpBunch has more than 20 years of success and 19 territories nationwide. JumpBunch is an enrichment-based program for kids ages 2-6 to participate in more than 70 activities. With a focus on variety, kids experience something new every week. In addition to sports-based activities, JumpBunch programming focuses on movement, having fun, and being active.
Little Rookies Empowers Children Through Baseball
The first step in a child’s journey through the sport of baseball, Little Rookies aims to positively impact children and support their physical and personal development, teaching proper fundamental baseball techniques for throwing, catching, hitting, fielding, and baserunning, all while having fun. Beyond establishing a foundation for proper baseball techniques, the youth baseball program is designed to help children build self-confidence, embrace teamwork, develop sportsmanship and learn the importance of physical activity. With 7 current territories, LIttle Rookies is posed for a large expansion in 2022.