By Tamas Mondovics

In the wake of its summer basketball season, i9 Sports, a Tampa-based youth sports league is gearing up for its fall season of T-ball, flag football and soccer.

With more than 500,000 members and 275 locations in 26 states in team sports for boys and girls ages 3-14, i9 Sports continues to get the  attention of parents who are drawn to the organization’s passion for youth sports and a desire to create a fun-alternative to other youth sports leagues.

“Our organization is all about helping kids succeed through sports in a positive environment where kids gain self esteem in an environment that is always positive.” said program director Chris Deitrich, who has been with the organization for the past eight years and recently joined i9 Sports Hillsborough County.

Deitrich, said the program continues its routine of same-day practice and game, where everyone is a winner.

“Besides safety being our No.1 item on the list for our kids, we truly provide a stress free environment to our athletes with the focus on enjoying the sport instead of being pressured to win at all cost,” Dietrich said.

A recent local youth sports survey, commissioned by the nonprofit arm of i9 Sports, claims that kids crave more fun in youth sports said that 84 percent of children surveyed say they quit or wanted to quit a youth sports team, mostly because “it wasn’t any fun.”

The report also mentioned that more than a third of children surveyed wished adults were not watching their games because they yell too much, make them nervous and put pressure on them to win and that  42 percent of the children said  they would  rather play video games than sports, mostly because video games are more fun.

Also noted in the survey is the affects of what often happens off the field, such as physical fights between players, 59 percent have seen a verbal fight or abuse, also known as name calling between players, while 36 percent have witnessed a verbal fight between parents.

“This survey clearly shows that America needs to reevaluate youth sports which have become too cut throat and competitive and not much fun,” said i9 Sports COO and President Brian Sanders.

Commenting on the results, i9 Sports marketing representative Graham Chapman said that the survey included 300 respondents -160 male and 140 female (ages 8-14) – and that participants had no affiliation with i9 Sports.

“We just wanted to get a better idea of the unique pressure our athletes are going through and to inform our parents of how the current situation on our fields and our courts,” Chapman said.

I9 Sports Hillsborough County is currently taking registrations for fall flag football, soccer and T-Ball throughout the county.

For more information about i9 Sports Hillsborough County, please visit

Caption: Submitted by i9

i9 Sports league athletes are enjoying a game of flag football after a same-day practice. The organization focuses a providing a stress-free fun-filled environment for all the players and parents and to keep youth sports fun in a cutthroat culture.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.