Back To Listing

Soccer Scores Goals As Number One Played Sport In The Country

Soccer has taken over as the number one played team sport in Australia. A steady increase in participation over the last three years has seen the sport take over the mantle from cricket, which held the position for a number of years.

The chart below shows national participation in Soccer being 1,218,000 in March 2003 ahead of Cricket (1,067,000) and Basketball (892,000). These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Sponsor MAP, which interviewed around 100,000 people aged 14 or over during the last four years.

Soccer’s wide appeal across both males and females is a factor as to why it has taken over as number one sport. The charts below show that Soccer is rated the highest participated sport among men, while it is the second highest participated sport, behind netball, for women.

The contact sports such as Australian Rules, Rugby League and Rugby Union don’t rank as high on the overall participation rates due to their limited appeal across both genders.



Soccer has shown steady growth over the last three years in participation, increasing from 831,000 participants in March 2000 to over 1.2 million in March 2003. Over the same period, participation in cricket has increased from 957,000 in March 2000 to 1,067,000 in 2003

The increase has occurred at the time of high profile events such as the popularity of the World Cup in Japan in 2002, and the myriad of Australian Soccer players making their mark in international competitions.

Looking at the chart below, it can be seen that the increase in Soccer participation over the years has been enjoyed across all states, in particular New South Wales (374,000 to 525,000), Victoria (184,000 to 271,000) and Queensland (142,000 to 223,000).

Further interrogation shows that the increase in Soccer has been due to the younger age groups with the 14-17 year bracket increasing from 358,000 to 431,000. The sharpest increase in participation was in the 18-24 age group. In the three year period participation increased a massive 106% from 181,000 to 372,000.

The 431,000 14-17 year olds participating in Soccer equates to 41% of the population in that age group. This indicates that Soccer may be playing a major factor among our school sports.

For further information:

Gary Morgan: Office: (03) 9224 5213 Mobile: 0411 129 094 Home: (03) 9419 3242

Anthony Lawrence: Office: (03) 9224 5383 Mobile: 0403 221 082