The 1-0 game

“We didn’t need a referee; we accepted the rules of the game and stuck by them. For us not to have done so would have spoilt the game for everyone. It taught us that you can’t go about doing what you want because there are others to think of and if you don’t stick to the rules, you spoil it for everyone else. Of course, that was not a conscious thought at the time, but looking back those kick about games on the waste ground did prepare us for life.” Stanley Matthews

“For me, the ball is a diamond. If you have something that precious you don’t get rid of it, you offer it.” Glenn Hoddle

“Keeping possession is a way for a team to get a breather.” Gordon Taylor PFA

Basically this is keepaway by another name and with a real purpose. It’s my favourite small sided game.

The 1-0 game is a possession game, played like a standard 4v4 game but with a twist.

Because of the nature of the game I limit each match to 5 minutes, but may play 2 or 3 games one after the other.

  • Age Group – U11s to adults
  • Pitch Size 40 x 20 – or at the discretion of the coach, but basically a standard 4 v 4 pitch
  • Number of teams – 2
  • Team sizes – 4-6 players
  • Bibs optional
  • Goals – 5 a side or mini soccer goals

The basic rule of the game is that you can only win by one goal.

The game begins as a normal 4 v 4 game with the usual rules.

When a goal is scored, the team that scored must just try and keep possession and can’t score into the goal. If they do, the goal is disallowed and a goal kick ensues.

If the other team then equalise and make it 1-1, either team can then score to make it 2-1. The team leading then just has to keep possession.

This is an excellent possession game and also allows a team to play out time by keeping possession, which is why I limit the game to just 5 minutes.

As well as possession, teams also have to attack with speed when needing to score and the game also focuses on transition.