Keepers keepaway

Objective: To improve short passing/receiving, communication, shielding the ball, teamwork, goalkeeping.

Age range: U7s and upwards.

Difficulty: Easy.

Set up: Divide your players into groups of five to seven. Create a 20-yard square for each group.

How to play:

One player in each group is a keeper.

The rest are numbered 1 to 4, 5 or 6 depending on how many you have in each group.

The numbered players pass to each other in sequence.

The keeper tries to intercept the passes using his/her hands or feet.

Note: Players in possession of the ball cannot be tackled by the keeper.

Give the passing players a relatively easy target to begin with. With U7s, this might be to make three passes before the keeper touches the ball. With U12s, you could start with 10.
Once your players have experienced success, gradually increase the target.
Make the game competitive by challenging groups to make more passes than the other(s).


  • Make the groups smaller. This makes it harder for the passing players to keep the ball away from the keeper.
  • Reduce the number of touches passing players are allowed.
  • Add a second keeper.
  • Coaching notes: If your players find this game difficult, make the playing area bigger or give the passing group an extra player.
  • Encourage good communication. Players should shout their number or “I’m here!” when it’s their turn to receive the ball.

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