NORFOLK - Former NFL player Orlando Goodhope beams with pride when he talks about daughter Galashia.
The former 13 Sports Athlete of the Week is18 years old and she's the starting point guard for Old Dominion University's Lady Monarchs. In a recruiting analysis, ESPN2 said,'She can run a half court offense or push the ball in transition.'
The road to this Division1 team was a long and expensive. Goodhopecan't count the hours spent on practrice and play, but he can count the dollars. He estimates his familyspent $40,000on youth basketball to prepare Galacia for ODU.
Was it worth it? Goodhope and his honor role freshman daughter say yes.
'A lot of my friends who are not athletes often complain about how hard it is financially. I am blessed to have gotten a scholarship,' she says.
The blessing may be bigger than she knows. According to statistics analyzed by the Houston Chronicle, a high school athlete's chance of getting that coveted Division 1 scholarship in most sports is less than one percent. The best odds are in girls golf at 1.6 percent.
Even with such long shots, youth sports remains a big business, raking in an estimated $5 billion a year.
Many parents spend thousands of dollars a year on Amateur Athletic Union sports, paying membership fees, uniform fees, and travel expenses associated with many so-called elite teams.
Families often feel pressure to position their children to compete against the best, but one veteran coach says many parents are under the false impression that AAU and other programs are a must-have for competitive teen athletes.
Darnell Dozier has been the girls basketball coach at Princess Anne High School in Virgina Beach for 18 years. With four state titles, 11 regional titles and 16 district titles under his belt, Dozier says parents should use caution when picking an AAU program.
'Some of the coaches are really not qualified to coach, and some of the kids are being put on these elite teams who shouldn't be there,' says Dozier.
He says part of the problem is the parent, who is unrealistic in assessing their child's skills.
'Every parent thinks their kid is a D-1. I've never met a parent who says my kid is just as good as a D-3 player.'
Dozier supports AAU and he even works for the nationally-known Boo Williams program in Hampton. Dozier says teen athletes can rise to the top if they are getting quality coaching in school.
The game is far from over for the Goodhope family. Galashia's little sister Danyael plays for Princess Anne High School. The family will spend an estimated $10,000 this summer for her AAU program. Danyael, who is also a track and field athlete, says she can go toe-to-toe with her big sister.
'I never fell like I can't do something or I'm not going to get there. I think I am going to be better than her,' she says.
The experts say parents who are shopping for AAU and other programs should keep an eye on expenses associated with travel teams. Tips include buying used equipment except for saftey gear, since more than a third of teen athletes say they plan to quit playing in the next year.
If you don't have problems covering expenses, consider a donation for a family that cannot afford the program.