Vanessa Serrato

Vanessa Serrato of the Galt Warriors competes in a home match last season. Soccer numbers rose 3.87 percent for both boys and girls last season across the state, according to the CIF.

The CIF saw numbers rise last year for high school sports participation, compared to numbers from the year before, to continue a trend that is now in its seventh straight year, according to a press release by the CIF that was released on Aug. 1.

Among the top 10 sports, there were three sports that saw numbers increase for both girls and boys; soccer rose 3.87 percent (a combined 3,890 more athletes), volleyball numbers increased 3.47 percent (2,292 more athletes) and basketball (a combined 2.18 percent increase).

Boys’ volleyball numbers have increased over the past eight seasons. In 2012, 15,876 boys competed in volleyball, compared to the 2019 season, in which 22,224 male athletes competed in the sport.

Girls’ soccer participation has increased significantly over the past six years, according to the survey.

Based on last season alone, girls’ soccer saw a 4.56 percent increase over the 2018 season; in 2014, 43,820 girls competed in soccer. Comparatively, in 2019 49,342 girls competed in soccer.

Among the top 10 boys sports, soccer saw the second-highest increase at 3.25 percent, while football continued to decrease in participation for the fourth straight year.

There were 91,305 male football players last season, a 3.16 percent decrease from the 2017-18 season, where there were 94,286 players. However, it remains the top boys sport, with track and field coming in second at 55,335 competitors last season.

Among female football players, however, participation has increased for the last four years, with 593 players competing last season.

“It’s reassuring to see the overall participation increase in education-based athletics,” stated CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti in the CIF release. “Over the past seven years, the 14 percent increase in girls participating is especially encouraging. As an organization, we must continue to provide new opportunities for all students at our member schools.”

“For us, personally I think we stayed pretty steady over the last year or two. We haven’t seen any dramatic drop-off. I know with the options of kids and soccer seasons changing, kids are sometimes choosing other spots and what-not,” Galt High School football and wrestling coach Tim Cobleigh said of last season’s Warrior football roster numbers on Aug. 6.

“As in previous years, we have noticed a steady and continued decrease in football participants. It is imperative that we continue to partner with organizations such as USA Football and their Football Development Model, which provides a roadmap for how we coach, play and learn the game at every level.”

Girls’ volleyball participation has increased over the past six seasons, with volleyball being the second most popular girls sport.

In 2018, 45,997 girls competed in volleyball for a 1.9 percent increase.

“I actually think it’s a direct correlation because this year I had 30 freshmen come out and last year we kept everybody and I think we only eight freshmen last year,” Liberty Ranch volleyball coach Mark Snow said. “We haven’t had tryouts yet but this year I have 30. For us, it jumped by 2/3 (this year).”

Girls’ wrestling has risen in participation every year since 2011, which is the first year listed on the CIF survey.

Last season, 6,014 girls competed in wrestling, up from 5,286 the previous year and 1,910 in 2011.

The CIF’s 1,606 schools participated in the survey, which was part of the National Federation of State High School Associations nationwide survey.