Council President Albornoz Introduces Bill to Enhance Youth Sports Opportunities in Montgomery County

by Patrick Herron
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For Immediate Release: Monday, March 14, 2022

Bill 6-22 would create an organizing body to advocate for enhanced sports opportunities and identify or address discrepancies found in youth sports opportunities in the Montgomery County

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 14, 2022—On Tuesday, March 15, Council President Gabe Albornoz will introduce Bill 6-22, which would establish an organizing body, the Montgomery County Sports Commission, to advocate for enhanced sports opportunities and identify or address discrepancies found in youth sports.

Montgomery County has a rich sports tradition and numerous public and private facilities, including the Montgomery County SoccerPlex that provide a significant economic boost to the County and raises quality of life for County residents.

The legislation proposes the creation of the Montgomery Sports Commission, consisting of 23 members, appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council, who reflect the diversity of the County, including diversity in race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, geography, and sports represented.

The Commission would be responsible for researching and reporting on factors that affect sports participation in the County; making recommendation to improve the quality, quantity and variety of sports opportunities and facilities in the County; and together with the County Executive and County Council, formally recognize teams and athletes in the County who win state or national championships, or who represent the United States in international competition.

“Sports at their best bring together communities and generations in ways that other genres cannot,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz. “It’s important that we establish an organization that helps to organize our sports community to ensure that all children and youth have access to recreational sports, programming opportunities and our County provides quality venues to meet that interest.”

Recent analysis, conducted by the County’s Office of Legislative Oversight on youth sports participation in Montgomery County and gender equity in local sports programs, confirmed the numerous benefits of sports participation for children and youth in social and emotional development and overall health and wellness. The analysis also found that there is a wide discrepancy in sports participation in the County. The reports identified barriers to access that relate to social and economic factors in addition to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Montgomery County is home to Olympic athletes, professional athletes and numerous state and National Championship teams. Sports participation is the largest extracurricular activity taken up by children and youth. When added to adult sports leagues and recreational play, Sports is the largest participatory activity in the County. Despite the significant interest and participation and rich history, there is currently no entity in the County that serves as an organizing body to help conduct research, advocate for enhanced sports opportunities, as well as identify or address discrepancies found in youth sports opportunities.

The Council staff report on the bill can be viewed here.

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