Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Happens When Kids Choose Their Teams by Color

Our 6-year-old has started playing in a city soccer league every Saturday. He's having a great time, but there's a curious thing about the way it's organized.

When they sign up for the program, kids choose the color of their jersey. Then when they arrive on the first day, they're put on a team with players who also picked that color.

This approach has some less-than-optimal consequences. For one, the sizes of the teams vary greatly. Light blue is the most popular, with 16 kids. Elliot's team (yellow) had just seven players on the most recent Saturday.

Worse, the girls aren't evenly distributed. In total, they comprise about 30 percent of the players. But the lavender team is 100 percent girls, while the light and dark blue teams have almost none. On the day I took my informal census, red had no girls either.

Yellow and green come closest to representing the overall population. (There's no pink team, but I can only assume it would have a similar breakdown as lavender.)

I'm all for letting children express themselves, but it might be better to just assign colors.