Where to Sign Kids Up for Team Sports: The Usual & Unusual!

Playing a team sport is a rite of passage for most kids. Improved physical fitness, motor and social skills, team work, sportsmanship, self confidence, and new friendships are just a short list of the benefits it offers.

Deciding which sport…now that’s a different subject. Sure, we all know the usual cast of characters: soccer, baseball, basketball. Kidsguide wants to introduce you to the unusual cast: badminton, roller derby, water polo…

While your budding athlete may love soccer this year, they may do a one-eighty by next fall. We want to make sure you’re suited up with solid out-of-left-field alternatives to suggest when necessary.

Note: Some of the sports included are more individual competition within a team… but hey…still a team, no less. All websites listed below offer information to find a team/league in your area.


The Usuals:

Baseball & Softball

American Fastpitch Association Softball – Girls fastpitch softball, adult slow pitch, and senior slow pitch.

Babe Ruth Baseball and Softball – Different divisions are based on age (4-18) and skill level. They also offer Buddy Baseball for kids (5-20) with special needs. To find a baseball or softball league in Southern California, visit the Pacific Southwest Division page. (800) 880-3142

Little League Baseball & Softball – Boys and girls baseball in age divisions (4-16), softball for girls (4-16), and Little League Challenger teams for boys and girls (4-22) with special needs. Find a baseball or softball league in Southern California on their website.

Pony Baseball & Softball – Co-ed baseball and girls’ softball leagues. Champions League is available for those with special needs.

The Miracle Leagues of Los Angeles and Orange County – Non-profit baseball leagues for people with disabilities. Both groups play on ADA compliant fields. Registration fees may apply, but financial aid is available. Visit their websites to find more information and registration details.

USA Softball of Southern California – USA Softball of Southern California organizes youth clinics, umpire seminars, and conducts national qualifying tournaments in slow pitch and fast pitch for men, women, and youth. They offer both a Junior Olympics Travel Program and a Recreational Program.



National Junior Basketball (NJB) offers youth leagues in California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada. They provide programs for boys and girls of different ages and skillsets, grades K through high school. Tournaments and summer camps are also offered. (888) 623-0124.


Football & Cheer

Friday Night Lights – They are the largest flag football league in the U.S. They offer a league for boys and girls of different skill levels who are in grades K-8. Online registration for the fall season takes place during the month of May with practices beginning in August and games beginning in September. They also offer a sideline cheer program for kids. Cheer availability varies by location.

NFL Youth Flag Football – Kids ages 5-17 learn the fundamentals of football and grow as leaders and teammates—all while being supported by the NFL. Find a league in your area or start one of your own.

Pop Warner – Tackle League for ages 5-15. Pop Warner teams have no tryouts or roster cuts, but instead offer a safe environment for kids to learn the fundamentals of football and team skills. Participants are required to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play. Pop Warner holds its own Super Bowl and National Championships, as well as an end-of-season banquet to celebrate the success of its players. Cheer and Dance program, and a Challenger Division for those with special needs, are available too.



American Youth Soccer Organization – AYSO programs offer player instruction that fosters a healthy and safe approach to the game. Programs range from ages 3-19. AYSO VIP is available for children with disabilities.

California State Soccer Association  – Open to boys and girls ages 3 and up.  Find the club/league locator on their website. Additional resources for parents regarding soccer player health and more also available.



Southern California Tennis Association – Programs for players (6-18), including teams, camps, clinics, and tournament, plus programs for players with disabilities. Scholarships available.



California Beach Volleyball Association – Beach volleyball junior teams and leagues for boys and girls ages 10-18.

Southern California Volleyball Association – Indoor volleyball club teams for boys and girls. Ages vary by club. Find Southern California teams, here. (714) 917-3595

US Youth Volleyball League – Instructional youth volleyball leagues for boys and girls, co-ed for ages 7-16.  Over 20 locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. (888) 988-7985


The Unusuals:


Junior Badminton programs and clubs are located throughout Southern California. Find a list of clubs, here.



USA Diving offers instruction and teams to bring your swimmer from the cannonball to the reverse dive with somersault. Find a club in your area on their website.



USA Lacrosse offers teams, leagues, and (often) summer camps for boys and girls throughout Southern California. Find local programs here.



Southern California Amateur Hockey Association – Resources for youth hockey leagues.

USA Hockey – Referrals to local programs and resources for parents. (719) 576-8724


Roller Derby

Junior Derby Dolls – Derby classes for all levels of skaters. The first session is free! All you need is a mouthguard, additional equipment (helmet, elbow/knee pads, wrist guards) is available to borrow. Open to girls 7-17.



Southern California Youth Rugby offers teams for ages 7+. Visit their website to find a club or high school program near you.


Swim Team

Southern California Swimming (SCS) oversees city and community club swim teams. They provide information on local clubs, calendar of events, and a schedule of upcoming meets with results and more. Find a swim club near you on their website.


Artistic Swimming

USA Artistic Swimming (formerly USA Synchronized Swimming) provides information on artistic swimming clubs, plus additional resources about artistic swimming rules, scoring, coaches, and more. Visit their website to find a club near you. (719) 866-2219


Water Polo Team

USA Water Polo provides information on clubs, clinics, camps and tournaments for boys and girls (7+). Their website offers a list of clubs near you. (714) 500-5445


More of a solo player? Check out this  list of alternatives. You may find the perfect sport for your kids!

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