Believe it or not, it’s almost time to register for youth basketball! Check out these Portland-area leagues recommended by local parents.
Thanks to Andy Pawlowski and Miranda Rake for contributions to this article.
Key things to consider include your time commitment, location, and whether you are coming with a full team or just as an individual. And, parents, leagues are always looking for youth coaches. If you are interested in coaching, please raise your hand — even if you don’t know all there is to know about the sport. The key is to make it fun and help the kids feel a sense of accomplishment. Visit each website for the latest information on schedules, pricing, and registration.
Flash stands for Fun, Learning, Accountability, Sportsmanship, and Hustle. This recreational league offers a chance for girls and boys from grades K-4 to play in a fun, teaching-based environment. The league puts a great deal of emphasis on the experience of kids including a fog tunnel and player introductions, half time “shows,” and referees who seek to both teach and officiate. One of the cool things about this league is that you can sign up as an individual or you can bring a full or partial team. They also offer competitive programs year-round up through high school.
Lay-Ups is a program established to help kids play in a fun, co-ed introductory way. They offer programs for girls and boys from K-3 and set up their philosophy on age-appropriate equipment and techniques. Practices tend to be right before games, making planning/schedule management much easier for busy families. Games are played in multiple locations around the Portland metro, with teams choosing a general base area that is most convenient for their families.
Based all over the Portland Metro area, I9 Sports offers recreational basketball for boys and girls of all ages – beginning with their “Pee Wee” division and going up through “Senior Youth.” I9 seeks to differentiate themselves by embedding sportsmanship lessons in their weekly practice plans and by looking to pair practice time with game time.
GoldenBall is a Portland Parks managed youth basketball program for girls and boys in grades 3-5. Their recreation program is based on good sportsmanship and the development of basketball fundamentals. This program offers a chance for kids to play in middle school or high school facilities around the city – giving it a more “official” feel. You sign up as a team and secure a spot as a team, rather than signing up at the individual level, which gives you the ability to manage all the details of your squad. Teams provide their own ‘uniforms’ for this program.
YMCA Recreational Basketball Leagues serve over 2,000 families throughout the Westside of the Portland-Metropolitan area. This league is designed to give players of all skill levels from ages 3 through 8th grade the opportunity to succeed on the court and to build relationships with their coach and teammates off it. Members, non-members, experienced players or first-timers, anyone can hoop! Sherwood and Clark County YMCAs also offer basketball leagues.
Founded in 2013 and now made up of 27 teams, this girls’ basketball club is non-competitive in early elementary grades, but does get more competitive as kids get older. Scholarships are available; the club believes that, “Any girl who wants to play, can play, regardless of her family’s economic situation.” Register in November for the January-March season, grades 1-8.
Portland Public Schools offers pretty robust team sports offerings, and it’s great to take advantage of them when your kids are old enough (they serve 6th to 8th grade). It’s also a good way to get on the radar of your local school’s coaches, if your child hopes to play high school basketball. Registration opens mid-September.
Looking for another sport? For more recommendations for youth leagues, check out our Youth Sports League Guide.