Four Goal Scramble

This fun and simple game will keep your young soccer players alert as they look to score in three other goals while defending their own.


To practise shooting, vision, communication and support play.

Skill level:


Number of players:

The whole squad.

Set up:

Create a 40 yards by 40 yards playing area with a goal on each side (four goals). Divide your squad into four teams.
How to play:

Each team defends one goal and attacks the other three. You have no goalkeepers in this game. Play first to five goals wins the game, or play for a set amount of time.

Coaching points:

Encourage quick, positive play. Emphasise the need for the players to keep their heads up and switch play to unguarded goals.


Play with two balls.

Have five teams. Play the game as described above but, when one team concedes two goals, they are replaced by the fifth team. Play does not stop, so the fifth team has to be observant and prepared to enter the game quickly. This improves transition.

6 goal game

Develop team tactical awareness while practicing defending and attacking skills.


The Game

2 even teams. Each team defends their 3 goals, and tries to score in the opponents 3 goals. The team with most goals wins.

Coaching Points


  • Vision, recognizing where pressure is coming from.
  • Possession / penetration decisions.
  • Switching the point of attack.


  • Pressure , cover, balance.
  • Defending zonally since the 3 goals force a team to defend ‘numbers down’.
  • Immediate counter attack when ball is won.

Try These Variations

Dribble through the goals instead of passing. (Make goals 10 yds.wide)

Goals must come off a ‘one touch’

Limit attackers to ‘2 touches’

4v4 four goal game

This traditional coaching game is great for getting players to play with their heads up, watch what is going on around them and move into spaces where they can influence the game.

Experience: beginners/intermediate.

Set-up: Play 4v4 on a 30-yard square with two goals at each end.

The goals should be set a few yards in from each corner of the pitch.

How to play: Each team defends the two goals at one end of the pitch and attacks the other two.

Coaching points: Watch for attacking players moving to unguarded goals and congratulate them. Similarly, stop play and congratulate defenders who track attackers or cover open goals.


Place a goal on each sideline and allocate each team two goals to attack and two to defend. This may look chaotic to begin with but it improves spatial awareness.

Restrict the number of touches each player can have before passing or shooting. For younger players, three touches is appropriate. For older or more experienced players two-touch is good. You can even try restricting them to one-touch

3v3 – 1 goal

g7Game Rules
A normal 3-a-side game in an area approximately 30 yards by 20 yards, except
that it is played around one goal rather than two.

Emphasize shooting at goal at the earliest opportunity.

Players combine to create goal-scoring opportunity.

Team in the dark uniforms can score only from the left side of the field, and team in white only from the right side.

Re-start game with a throw-in any time the ball goes out of bounds.

When goalkeeper makes a save from one team, he throws the ball into the opposing half of the field.

Player Objectives

  • To take early shots from within shooting distance of the goal.

  • To provide support for the player with the ball

2v1 Sieve

2v1 Sieve works on attacking and defending skills.

New Image

Set up three to five 10×10 yard grids in a row. Place two lines of attackers at one end, and give a ball to all the players in one line. Position a defender in each grid.

Two attackers enter the first grid and try to beat the first defender, who cannot leave the area. If successful, they move into the next grid and take on the next defender, and so on. Every time they beat a defender they get a point.

Defenders only have to knock the ball out of the grid area to stop the attack. Each time the defenders stop an attack, they move up a space, changing places with the defenders in the grids in front of them.

The defenders become attackers by stopping an attack in the first grid. When this happens, the attacker who lost the ball goes into the last grid and becomes the new defender for that grid, the successful defender in the first grid goes to the end of the attacking lines, and the remaining defenders all move forward by one grid.

The first players to earn a predetermined number of points win.



Game Rules

  • One ball for three players in the area shown in the diagram, approximately 15 yards square.
  • Each player plays against the other two players.
  • Each player tries to score in a goal four to five yards wide.
  • When the ball goes out of play, the coach puts another ball in play.
  • Goalkeeper making a save throws the ball to the coach.
  • After 10 balls are served, all three players and the goalkeeper are changed.
  • Keep score and play the winners against each other to name the champion.

Player Objectives

Control the ball from the coach.

Manipulate the ball to avoid challenges.

Shield the ball when necessary.

Change direction – turn with the ball.

Change pace.

Shoot at the earliest opportunity.

1v1 No tackling!

it doesn’t get much simpler than this….

A defender on the goal line plays the ball out to an attacker who is 30 – 40 yards away.

The defender then closes down the attacker who tries to get past the defender to score.

The defender is not allowed to tackle, only contain and block any attempted shots.

Note: I’ve found this game to be excellent at helping children to stop ‘diving in’ during matches.