For his 15-year old son’s travel hockey team, Tim Richmeier was spending about $5,000 a season: using his tax refunds, halting contributions to his 401(k), and putting travel expenses on a credit card — including $6,000 he’s still paying off. Richmeier said it was a great experience for his child. But after four years, it was a financial relief when his son didn’t make the team.
“I was kind of dreading the upcoming season, knowing I’d go deeper in the hole,” said Richmeier, a single father in Phoenix.
Competitive youth sports in the U.S. are rising in popularity. The exclusive club and travel teams come with added coaching and intense competition, as well as much higher costs than a school or community team.
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