Steal the ball

I like keepaway games. They are great for improving ball control, shielding the ball, supporting play and communication.

But “normal” keepaway quickly bores young players. There’s not much fun and no end result.

Steal the Ball, however, is fun to play and it can get very competitive. My players love it!

Age group: U6s to U10s.

StealSet-up: Create two playing areas. For team sizes up to six, 20 yards square is OK. If you have more than that (or your players are inexperienced) make the playing areas bigger.

Split your players into two teams and give them numbers 1 to X (P1 to P4 in the image below)

One team per playing area.

How to play: To begin with, your players pass the ball to each order in number order: 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 etc.

Tip: Encourage your players to move immediately after passing and tell them to use the whole of the playing area.

After a few minutes, call a number. The players with that number run into the other team’s playing area and try to steal the ball. Whoever steals the ball first gets a point for their team.

When all the numbers have been called, the team with the most points wins.


Call two numbers.

Play with two balls in each playing area and require the ball stealers to knock both balls out of the playing area to get a point.

Award a bonus point if the ball can be stolen in less than five seconds.

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