Maryland, USA – The American Cricket Federation (ACF) and the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA) are pleased to announce the formation of a partnership aimed at accelerating cricket development among American youth, which the two organizations consider foundational to the United States becoming a fully developed, cricket-playing nation.
The alliance developed naturally from a common vision of how best to establish cricket as a mainstream sport in an athletic environment as broad and diverse as the USA. Jamie Harrison, President of USYCA, neatly captured the theme resonating with so many American cricketers.
Harrison said, “There are over 50 million children in America between the ages of 5-17, and for years they have been ignored by entrenched cricket interests in this country. We now understand that cricket will never flourish in the USA until home-grown American youth cricketers, utilizing American coaching and infrastructure, create the momentum, volume and fan base necessary to tap the potential of the American sports system.
“Frankly, if we could just keep the children of expatriates involved in cricket, rather than watching them abandon their sport due to a lack of opportunities, the USA would have one of the largest youth player bases in the world. Instead, this untapped resource, plus the vast majority of other American children, has been denied access to our great sport. This cannot continue. This will not continue.
“At this point in American cricket development, a sharp domestic focus is what’s needed, and that’s where USYCA and ACF are uniquely positioned to serve. The revolution starts today.”
The partners note the historically under-developed state of USA youth cricket, dramatically captured by an 2011 ICC Development Program Census of the Americas Region, which reported a ratio of 23:1 adults to youth participating in cricket in the USA, compared to neighboring Canada which boasts a ratio of 4:1, and a 5:1 ratio within the Americas region itself.
Jagan Jagannathan, Executive Secretary of the ACF Steering Committee, echoed the same theme.
Jagannathan said, “From the outset, ACF’s mission has been to unite all USA cricket stakeholders towards a goal of development; a vast network of talented and like-minded cricket enthusiasts interactively supporting and providing a service to cricket’s emergent grassroots constituency.
“Our primary focus is developing and/or supporting initiatives involving youth cricket, college cricket, women’s cricket and softball cricket, which are all the underpinnings of a solid foundation for the national game.”
Jagannathan continued, “In comparison to past history, the common approach of both organizations might be likened as the difference between a heavily centralized group trying to write Encyclopedia Britannia for profit, versus all indigenous USA cricket stakeholders compiling Wikipedia for the sheer love of knowledge.”
The partnership anticipates a substantial sharing of resources, communications, facilities and volunteer networks. USYCA will lead cricket development in age groups up to 13-Under, while ACF will coordinate the transition to older age groups. A potentially exciting synergy is seen between USYCA’s expansion program to create out-of-school community leagues, with ACF’s softball and tape ball arm that already is extensively established in both indoor and outdoor facilities in communities throughout the USA.
Noting that electoral representation of youth cricket is enshrined within ACF’s Constitution, Jagannathan commented, “We have been so impressed with USYCA’s independent progress in introducing cricket to so many elementary and middle schools throughout the country: over a thousand schools, in over twenty-five states, in just over three years, is already a massive and unprecedented achievement. We look forward to building on that within our community of clubs, leagues and dedicated volunteers and seeing these youngsters develop with a voice in USA cricket.”
Harrison observed, “It is refreshing to see unequivocal support of youth cricket by a national body so transparently dedicated to the long-term future of USA cricket. We hope this vision will inspire a new generation of cricketers to cast aside their doubts and believe anew in a bright future for cricket in America.”
About the American Cricket Federation
The American Cricket Federation is incorporated in the State of Maryland and was founded on the principles of transparency, inclusiveness, democracy and fairness. Its mission is to inspire Americans to play and excel at cricket and to make cricket the preeminent bat-and-ball sport in the United States of America.
Implicit within its founding principles, the ACF believes that a national governing body should serve, support and represent the wishes of all its constituencies. Representation therefore is key, for with it comes the hearts and minds of all players, clubs, leagues and the sport’s fan-base. ACF seeks to partner with players, fans, clubs, leagues, corporations, state and local governments, schools and colleges across the nation, and in providing educational, technical, logistical and financial support to its members, create resources that will serve to enhance the quality of cricket, events and infrastructure within the United States of America.
About the United States Youth Cricket Association
The United States Youth Cricket Association, a 501-c3 tax-exempt non-profit organization incorporated in Maryland, is dedicated to introducing our great sport to American children. It supports local youth cricket organizations and helps to create new youth cricket teams and leagues where none exist. It is also a network of dedicated volunteers who give time, energy and money to bring cricket to American schools. USYCA is also firmly committed to fully developing women’s cricket by drawing girls into our sport at an early age.