QUEENS — Baseball may be America's pastime, but soccer is the game that knocks it out of the park in Forest Hills.
The neighborhood's soccer program, which just kicked off its new season, has exploded in popularity in recent years, surpassing basketball and long-established baseball programs, said Larry Berkowitz, executive director at the Forest Hills Youth Activities Association.
Currently, roughly 1,000 kids, ages 3 to 14, play soccer at the association and another 150 kids are on the waiting list, Berkowitz said.
“There is a lot of ethnic diversity in this area and as more immigrants move in, soccer is becoming a more popular sport,” Berkowitz said, noting that many immigrants from Europe grew up playing mostly soccer.
The program was introduced in Forest Hills about 12 years ago with only 150 kids, he said. It has been steadily growing ever since, until three years ago when it reached its capacity, Berkowitz said.
The program, which is open to all children, consists of about 70 soccer teams that play every weekend during September and October.
There are mini-clinics for 3- and 4-year-olds as well as groups for girls only and mixed teams for boys and girls.
The registration fee for the season is $185, which includes a uniform. For more information go to www.fhsl.org or call (718) 544-2296.