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soccer goalkeepers game with neutral players

Neutral player games - where two players play for the team in possession - encourage young players to use the full width of the pitch, play with their heads up and make quick, decisive passes.

Age range: U8 upwards.

Set-up: The game is played by teams of four or five players on a 30 yards long by 20 yards wide pitch with four goals - two on each end line. Each team attacks and defends two goals.

How to play:

The two neutral players take up various positions depending on the coach's objective.
  • To encourage switch play from right to left: place one neutral player just outside the left hand edge of the playing area and the other neutral player on the opposite side.
  • To encourage forward and backward passes: place the neutral players on the sidelines between the goals.
  • To encourage fast, short passing: place the neutral players inside the playing area.


Play each game for 10 minutes or until a specified number of goals have been scored.

The neutral players cannot be tackled and can't score goals.

Encourage neutral players to actively support the team in possession by calling for the ball. Don't let them stand around hoping that someone will pass to them.

Change the neutral players in every new game.

Progression: restrict neutral players to two touches or give them a maximum of four seconds to release the ball. This encourages the team that passed to the neutral player to move quickly into a place where they can receive a return pass.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.


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