Living Here Guide

Get in the game

Some of the largest soccer programs in Charlotte include Charlotte Soccer Academy, Carolina Rapids Soccer Club and Charlotte United Futbol Club.
Some of the largest soccer programs in Charlotte include Charlotte Soccer Academy, Carolina Rapids Soccer Club and Charlotte United Futbol Club. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

If you’re a parent with kids who love sports, Charlotte’s a great place for them to get involved.

Here are five ways to get started:

(1) Youth football

There are many youth football leagues in town. Two of the largest and most successful are Hammer Down Football, run by a group of former North Carolina Tar Heels, including lineman Roge Purgeson and quarterback/tight end Deems May; and the Ballantyne Gators, run by a former Florida Gators All-American defensive back Larry Kennedy. Pop Warner also has a large presence here.

Information: Ballantyne Gators, 704-650-5803; hammerdownfootball.com; popwarnerlittlepanthers.org.

(2) Youth basketball

Youth basketball is big in Charlotte, and there are many competitive organizations. Three of the bigger ones for elementary and middle school children are Pro Skills, run by two former Davidson College players, QCAA Basketball and the Charlotte Dragons.

Information: proskillsbasketball.com; qcaabasketball.com; charlottedragons.com

(3) Rec sports

The Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation department offers a full menu of recreational sports for kids, ranging from flag football to cross country to track. Most local YMCAs also offer multiple rec sports leagues and activities.

Information: Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, 980-314-1116. www.ymcacharlotte.org.

(4) Youth soccer

There are more than 20 programs in town, ranging from no-cut fun leagues to high level development leagues. Some of the largest include Charlotte Soccer Academy, Carolina Rapids Soccer Club and Charlotte United Futbol Club.

Information: www.charlottesocceracademy.com; www.carolinarapids.org; www.charlotteunited.com.

(5) Youth baseball and softball

Charlotte is full of all types of softball and baseball leagues, from coach pitch to T-ball to kid pitch. Like in all sports in town, you can find organizations that typically cater to which part of the city you live in.

Information: A great place to track baseball and softball leagues, and many other youth sports leagues in town, is fun4charlottekids.com.

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