small sided games (SSGs)

why play small sided games? (from USYouthSoccer)

1. Because we want our young football (soccer) players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skilful with it! (individual technical development)

2. Because we want our young soccer players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! (tactical development)

small sided games are fun!3. Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in! (reduced field size)

4. Because we want our young soccer players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Less players on the field and less players on the team will guarantee this! (need to feel worthy and need to feel important)

5. Because we want our young soccer players to have more, involved playing time in the game! (more opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)

6. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunity to play on both sides of the ball! (more exposure to attacking and defending situations)

7. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals! (pure excitement)

Best of all, the game is simple, can be played without adult involvement and it's FUN!

These are the reasons why we adults must foster "Small-Sided Games" in our youth soccer programs. The "Small-Sided" environment is a developmentally appropriate environment for our young soccer players. It’s a FUN environment that focuses on the young soccer player.


These games are either SSGs in their own right or soccer-like games that involve two or more teams of players:

1 v 1 no tackling
2 v 2 with two neutrals
3 team keepaway
3v3 one goal
4 square soccer
4v4 passing, dribbling and shooting games
5 pass game
6 goal game
across the line
All up and back
Big goals, small goals
change soccer
continuous 2v2
don't let the ball stop!
end zone game
FA Level 2 football coaching drills and key factors
Fun soccer games based on Simon says
four goal game
Get out of here
improve fitness, passing skills and teamwork
keeping possession
lane soccer
line soccer
line passing
Mini soccer
No-Go zone
side help game
Size of pitch and 4 goal game
Small sided games for keepaway
Small sided game with 4 unguarded goals
Small sided games basic team shape game
Small sided back pocket games with netball theme
small goal passing game
small sided games in Alabama
Swedish handball
the one nil game
total soccer for children
we need help!
you're outa here!

"I know a lot of younger players don’t love the game now, but it is not a game you love anymore. When I was young we played in the street, had fun, identified with great players, thought & talked nothing but football, lived for a Saturday game on telly. Now there’s too many games on TV & you see the kids now in their teams at 9 years old, & its do this, do that with their parents on the touchlines screaming at them…" Gordon Strachen

how to use small sided games in youth soccer

a scientific study into the benefits of small sided soccer from the University of Abertay Dundee (2006) SSG Comparison: 4v4 vs 7v7 vs 11v11 for U-12's, by Grant Small (.pdf, 382kb)

Deconstructing Youth Soccer: creating the ideals of street play in an organised soccer world

mini soccer - a study by the Sports University of Cologne (.ppt)

why SSGs? (from US Youth Soccer, .ppt)

futsal rules, OK?