What is Upward Sports?

Upward Sports is the world’s largest Christian-based kids sports league. Last year, nearly 550,000 children in 48 U.S. states and Canada participated in Upward Sports Leagues and Camps hosted by more than 2,400 churches.

How is Upward Sports different from other youth sports organizations?

Upward Sports provides a fun sports experience based on healthy competition for kids, teaching skills for the sports arena and values for life. Upward Sports creates a positive environment for kids to learn sport skills without the pressure of “win-at-all-cost” leagues. With supportive coaches, equal playing time and a family-friendly schedule, Upward Sports Leagues are fun for the whole family.

How and when did Upward Sports begin?

In 1986, while serving as a church recreation minister in Upstate S.C., Caz McCaslin developed a basketball league that incorporated athletic skills and values for success on and off the court. When the program outgrew the church’s gymnasium in 1994, McCaslin realized that his vision was to reach children beyond his local congregation with a first-class sports experience. As a result, he founded what is now known as Upward Sports.

How many Upward Sports Leagues exist and where are they located?

There are more than 5,000 Upward Sports Leagues and Camps in 48 U.S. states and Canada. Since 1995, partner churches have also conducted Upward Sports Programs in 67 countries while on mission trips. Find a youth sports league or camp near you now.

Who can participate in Upward Sports?

Each year some one million people around the world play, coach, referee or volunteer in Upward Sports Leagues and Camps specially designed for K through fifth-grade children. With more than 5,000 leagues and camps conducted by over 2,400 churches across the U.S. and Canada, children and volunteers of any faith or no faith are welcome to participate.

What will a child in an Upward Sports League take away from his or her experience?

Participants gain both athletic skills and values for success on and off the court—including sportsmanship, teamwork, integrity and respect. Young athletes enjoy valuable game-time experience that improves their skills and builds healthy self-confidence as they learn from coaches who care. But Upward Sports is even more than a game-day experience, providing youth with a supportive community and fun activities to help them develop character.

How is it possible to give every child equal playing time?

Upward Sports Leagues offer competitive games through a drafting system created to balance talent on each team. Combined with a unique substitution system, this enables Upward Sports Leagues to provide kids with equal playing time over the course of a season.

Does a child’s family have to be a member of a church in order to for him/her to participate?

No, Upward Sports is a community-based kids sports program most frequently hosted by a church. Children and volunteers of any faith—or no faith—participate in Upward Sports.

Can my child request a friend to be on his/her team?

Upward provides a unique system of evaluating players and drafting teams with the goal of having teams of equal skill.  To capitalize on this unique feature of Upward Sports, which helps provide a more competitive and fun experience through better balanced teams, we are not be able to honor requests for children to be on the same team with friends. 

Can I request a specific coach?

We allow parents to coach their child’s team, but do not generally allow coach requests outside of that unless the child has special needs that can only be accommodated by a specific coach.

Can I bring in my own team?

No. Upward Sports Leagues do not allow preformed teams, whether they are formed outside the league or have played together within the league in the past. We use a specialized drafting system created to balance talent on each team, which also allows players to play against other players of similar talent and ability.

What do I need to do to volunteer?

Please see the Coach and Referee information above for specifics regarding volunteering for these roles. Volunteers are also needed in a variety of other roles including the concession stand, score board, and as a prayer partner. Coaches and referees will need to complete a coaching application and submit to a background check (paid for by Westside).

I don’t know anything about the sport, can I still coach?

Some general knowledge of the sport is helpful when you are coaching, but if you are willing to spend some time learning, you can still coach! We offer training for all of our coaches, in addition to practice plans and drills.

Who do the Upward teams play?

Upward is an in-house league, we only play other Upward teams within our organization at Westside. We do not play teams from other leagues or organizations.


Please contact Cindy Moresette at cindy@wchurch.tv.