L.A. launches program to expand youth sports access

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti high-fives children on a baseball field
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti high-fives children from the L.A. City Recreation and Parks Department’s summer camp at Dodger Stadium in 2019.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

The city of Los Angeles on Saturday launched a program to make sports more accessible to children.

The program, PlayLA, will ensure all residents ages 5 to 17 can participate in low-cost or free sports by subsidizing fees for leagues, classes and clinics for activities that include tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, judo and swimming, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office said in a news release.

“Every young Angeleno deserves the opportunity to participate in sports, no matter their family income or physical ability,” Garcetti said in the statement.


The initiative will also offer programming for children with physical disabilities, a first for the city’s youth sports repertoire, which might include sitting volleyball, adaptive swimming, goal-ball, para equestrian, para surfing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive athletics, wheelchair tennis and para-canoe, city officials said.

The program from the L.A. Parks and Recreation Department is being funded by a $9.6-million grant from the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which has committed a total of $160 million to the initiative, according to the city.

“The launch of PlayLA is a huge accomplishment for L.A. Parks and for the scores of city youth who will become members of the best, all inclusive multi-sports program to equip them for a lifetime of activity, connection, and positive experiences,” Mike Shull, general manager of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department, said in a statement.

Registration for the program’s winter season opened Saturday and costs $10 per person, the city said.