Sprawling, image-heavy homepages distinguish Millard United Sports and West Austin Youth Association as top youth association websites.
With a sleek, modern design, 75-year-old Millard United Sports shows that this old dog CAN learn new tricks.
Based on its cutting-edge website, Millard United Sports, based in Omaha, Nebraska, definitely does not qualify as internet flyover country. The homepage is clean, concise and interactive for users of all ages. At a close No. 2, West Austin Youth Association’s homepage has many of the same features and loads of content.
Both sites take advantage of lateral space, featuring slideshows and large call-to-action graphics. Both have found unique ways to feature their young athletes. Millard shows off its accomplished teams using slideshows while WAYA adeptly connects to social media platforms to display pictures and video.
The Anoka Ramsey (Minnesota) Youth Association site, with bonus features sprinkled throughout, and Port Youth Activities, based in Port Washington, New York, also cracked the Top 5 with the winning combination of flashy homepage design and interesting, informative content.
Rounding out the top group is Hoover (Alabama) Athletic Association, yet another site that combines clean, eye-catching design and well-packaged content such as that found on the About HAA page.
We graded youth association websites on the SportsEngine platform from across the nation based on Design, Navigation, Content, Schedules and Results, About Us, Use of the SportsEngine platform and Bonus Content.
Our Top 5 all are easy to navigate on both mobile and desktop devices, have rich content and sleek design and use an array of SportsEngine products.
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Webmasters: Chris Folk and Cynthia Willis
Overview: Founded more than 75 years ago, Millard United Sports offers multiple divisions of youth softball, baseball, football and cheerleading. The non-profit organization’s engaging, easy-to-navigate website contributes to its mission of providing “the highest quality youth sports programs” and proves that Millard United Sports is committed to staying at forefront of youth organizations.
What we like: The balance of high-quality design and content. The website may not be flashy, but its use of high-resolution, clickable images and an updated news and events calendar combine for an interactive online experience.
Navigation: Eight categories are available both as top navigation and call-to-action graphics on the top third of the homepage. With prominent scrolling headlines and a search bar in the upper right corner, it’s easy to know what to look for and how to find it.
Schedules/scores/past results: A sortable calendar is available under the About Us tab, with content focused on upcoming committee and e-board meetings.
About, history, staff pages: The organization’s mission is displayed on its homepage while everything else (coaching information, policies, staff contacts) is located under the About Us tab. The organization boasts a history of more than 75 years but does not give any background information.
Did you know? Millard United Sports awarded $500 scholarships to nine 2018 graduating seniors based on a minimum GPA of 3.0 and three years participation in MUS or affiliated associations.
Bonus content: Under the Events tab, the site offers a peek into the MUS Hall of Fame and Coach of the Year inductees dating back to 2010. Also, the organization displays its most accomplished teams in three slideshows at the bottom of the homepage.
Location: Austin, Texas
Webmaster: Jenni Taylor
Overview: Founded in 1981, the non-profit organization offers more than 30 sports and activities programs to over 5,000 youth in the Austin area. Using principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance, the West Austin Youth Association (WAYA) strives to help children reach their potential by providing a variety of fun, safe activities.
What we like: The website design matches the organization's intent. Large, clickable kid-friendly graphics and text make for an uncluttered, approachable homepage. The website's most important features, such as registering, donating and WAYA’s principles, are the easiest to find.
Navigation: The top navigation is split into seven drop down tabs, an impressive feat given it has more than 30 activities for ages K-12 to sort out. The homepage is short and clutter free, making for a quick scroll to find field status, open gym hours and social media content.
Schedules/scores/past results: A sortable calendar has its own tab on the top navigation and there is a helpful explanation of how the tagging system works. There isn’t much in the way of scores, stats and past results.
About, history, staff pages: WAYA’s “About” section is one of the more extensive in its class. WAYA provides its philosophy, contact information, membership information and frequently used forms. It also has pages dedicated to answering FAQs and SportsEngine help.
Did you know? WAYA offers unique programs including Snapology LEGO Camp, Camp Gladiator, British Soccer Camp and dodgeball.
Bonus content: The homepage offers a social media section with pictures and videos from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Location: Port Washington, New York
Webmaster: Brandon Kurz
Overview: This non-profit organization offers 10 sports for youths K-12, including a football camp led by former NFL quarterback Jay Fiedler. Founded in 1963, PYA brands itself as “Home of the Legends,” and its website has the potential to be that home.
What we like: The homepage links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, where members share pictures, videos, scores and coaching tips. Other unique features include a scrolling schedule at the top of the homepage and links to an online apparel store.
Navigation: Ten top navigation categories may be too many. However, the site's massive amount of content is well-sorted and easy to access.
Schedules/scores/past results: The scrolling schedule on the homepage is great. A sortable calendar can be found under “Events” in the top navigation.
About, history, staff pages: The About Us page leads to information regarding PYU’s facilities, safety standards, financials and mission. The Who We Are page lays out the organization’s goals and its method of measuring if they are fulfilled.
Did you know? Port Youth Activities documents its facility updates, which includes refinishing and installing outdoor benches from the original Yankee Stadium in 2015.
Bonus content: The Hall of Fame page lists inductees dating back to 1991 and has links to short bios on each member. Much of PYA’s history can be found within these bios.
Location: Anoka, Minnesota
Webmaster: Shannon Johnson
Overview: The non-profit organization was founded in 1979 and currently offers nine youth sports in the Anoka and Ramsey area. According to its About Us page, more than 3,800 children participated in its various camps, clinics and leagues in 2012.
What we like: The individual pages for each sport are home to hidden gems. Some pages offer slideshows with quality graphics while others link to rideshare programs, suggested drills and parent resources.
Navigation: Of the seven top navigation categories, the Sports tab carries much of the load. The association's nine sports can be accessed with further options leading to specific leagues, programs and bonus features (Rideshare, Coaches Corner, Player/Coach Development). The homepage displays information on registration, news and upcoming events.
Schedules/scores/past results: In addition to a sortable master calendar category on the top navigation, the site provides up-to-date scores and standings – a rarity for youth association websites. Schedules for each team can be found in the corresponding Sports page.
About, history, staff pages: The About Us page provides news, facility locations and board information, including monthly board meeting minutes dating back to 2011.
Did you know? ARAA members can work concessions at Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium to pay for league sanction activities including registration and tournament fees. The organization also hosts weekly BINGO nights at a local tavern.
Bonus content: Instructional videos, links to camps and coaching tips can be found for many of ARAA’s nine sports. It takes a little digging, but is worth the search. As an example, here's a page with a box lacrosse video.
Location: Hoover, Alabama
Webmaster: Jared Phillips
Overview: Since 1965, the Hoover Athletic Association has been developing athletic and life skills in youth by providing baseball, football and cheerleading in safe, family-friendly environments. The non-profit organizations mantra, “respect, self control, competition,” is plastered in the header of its homepage.
What we like: Great homepage design and user-friendliness. The homepage absolutely screams “Friday Night Lights” and is one of the most creative in its class. The large, clickable graphics make for a site that is both engaging and easy to use.
Navigation: Each sport is represented with a call-to-action graphics in the middle of the homepage. The right column provides the latest headlines and social media updates.
Schedules/scores/past results: The association calendar has a dedicated tab in the top navigation but is in need of an update.
About, history, staff pages: The About HAA page displays the organizations mission, structure and an extensive code of conduct, and its board members and faculty are listed on the HAA Board page.
Did you know? HAA awards up to eight $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors based on involvement in the organization, academic achievement and financial need.
Bonus content: Each sport’s landing page provides an About Us section, coaches information and a list of upcoming events.
This organization, based just west of Austin in one of the nation's fastest-growing suburbs, serves about 3,000 kids. It made a splash with its incredible homepage design and functionality on mobile platforms. It is easy to navigate between sports and season and has great information for aspiring coaches. Community relations director Ann Nellis was featured for her outstanding work with the organization in a Webmaster of the Week article.
Along with its stunning design, this Indiana-based website stands out for its exemplary focus on community. Director of operations Deena Albin posts upcoming events in the Community Corner and four of the eight main navigation tabs are directed toward those who want to get involved in the association in some way. As a bonus, there is an in-depth summary of AJAA’s history in the About Us section.
While not the flashiest site we evaluated, KYA Sports -- based just north of Fort Worth -- is perhaps the most user-friendly. The Communication Tools page uses videos and links to teach athletes and their tech-challenged parents how to use the website’s many features. The site also uses video to share practice plans, drills and coaching tips.
Communications director Chase Wright manages one of the most eye-catching homepages we evaluated. The Connect tab in the top navigation has great information for coaches, parents and those looking to follow Mill Creek Athletic Association, based about 40 miles north of Atlanta in Buford, on social media.
This site earned recognition here in part because of its incredibly detailed and information-packed Sponsors page. The statistics section there offers several compelling reasons to become a sponsor, including the fact that the organization -- based between Baltimore and Washington D.C. -- has 6,600 members from more than 1,475 active families. Webmaster Jeremy Larkin manages a stunning homepage and provides plenty of content in the site’s news slideshow.
Here are more outstanding sites that were in our final judging mix but didn't crack our top groups:
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