Posted by Find Kids Sports on 08/18/2016

One Stop Shopping Website

Author: Bryce Alderton

One Stop Shopping Website

Local woman creates a place online where parents can find information about 464 youth sports organizations throughout Southern California and leave frustrating search process behind.

Colleen Connelly has either worked or volunteered in the youth sports industry for nearly a decade, but she noticed a vacuum when it came to parents being able to track down the appropriate leagues for their kids.

Several youth league websites either did not contain what Connelly considered essential information — such as grade, skill level and scheduling details — or they buried those elements.

After encountering frustration in her search for a basketball league for her 11-year-old son, who attends Top of the World Elementary School in Laguna Beach, Connelly decided to act.

She created the website FindKidsSports.com to make it easier for parents to find a league, clinic or camp for their children.

As of this week, the website included information for 464 organizations throughout Southern California, including Orange County.

"If you are a basketball club offering camp one time a week, [the organization] was not coming up [on Internet searches] because they don't specialize in [camp]," said Connelly, who sold website platforms to youth sports organizations for two years and has coached basketball and soccer leagues.

"When you do find [a league, camp, or clinic], you don't know a lot of the answers you are looking for."

Parents can now type in their city and the desired sport, and the website will bring up leagues, clinics and camps throughout Southern California for children who are new to sports and experienced athletes.

As of this week, the site included profiles of volleyball and baseball clubs, along with a surf camp.

Connelly spent more than a year researching organizations and initially populated the site with ones she was familiar with. She launched the site in February, and organizations have since contacted her about placing their profiles online.

Youth sports officials can list their league on the website for free, including a profile with information such as grade level, time of year the league or clinic is in session, mission statement and credentials of coaches and instructors.

The organization's email address is also provided, but for a fee, a link will take visitors directly to the registration page.

The website allows users to write reviews of a league or camp, and Connelly has included articles from contributors such as a story submitted by a physical therapist titled "Preventing Injuries in Youth Sports."

Parents in the stands during games routinely talk with one another about what sports their kids will play the following season, Connelly said.

They have traditionally found out about league registrations through word of mouth, fliers their kids brought home from school and email reminders, though parents who recently moved to a new city would not necessarily be included on email lists.

"Not all organizations are good about sending reminders," said Stephanie Rounaghi, a parent of three Laguna Beach Unified School District students who play sports.

Rounaghi, a friend of Connelly's, first heard about the website during its initial stages. Since its launch, Rounaghi discovered a basketball camp she had been unaware of.

"[Connelly] has taken a lot of time to gather info about so many local organizations," Rounaghi said. "It's very easy to navigate."

bryce.alderton@latimes.com

Twitter: @AldertonBryce

Copyright © 2016, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot


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