2v1Game Rules

Have substitute players ready to replace those who are playing.

One team has a single outfield player, the other has two, and both have a goalkeeper.

Several balls should be kept within each goal to keep a ball in play.

Make the goal four yards wide, and create a play area 25 yards by 15 yards.

Encourage both teams to score even though one has a manpower advantage.

When the ball is out of play, start the game at the goal line by the goalkeeper.

Keep score.

Player Objectives

Watch the ball but keep head up to observe opponents and the goal.

Team with two outfield players:

The player in possession has two options – pass the ball or keep it.

Pass to teammate with pace and accuracy, and use teamwork to score.

For the player not in possession, support teammate by being visible.

Team with one outfield player:

Player in possession keeps the ball until the angle to shoot exists, then tries to score.

Manipulate the ball, keeping body between opponents and the ball.

Change pace and direction.

Space and movement

Soccer, although it is played with a ball, is really a game of space and movement without the ball. Unlike some other sports, (baseball, for instance), soccer does not really have positions. Rather, players have differing responsibilities which change as the ball and the other players move about the field. In a strict sense, only the goal keeper really has a “position” to play.

Once your players have attained proficiency in the basic techniques of receiving, passing and shielding a football, you can introduce them to the fact that they will actually only spend a relatively small amount of time (perhaps as little as three or four minutes in every hour) with the ball at their feet.

Your players need to understand that they will actually spend around 90% of every game supporting their team-mate with the ball or moving into a position where they could receive the ball if the player in possession chose to pass. Knowing where they need to be at any given moment of a soccer game is, therefore, just as an important a skill as passing or shooting. Perhaps it is even more important.

There are many games and drills that will allow young soccer players to practice finding the right space and position for themselves on the soccer field.

Equally, there are many that focus on providing support for each other. The simplest of these – keepaway – is used by coaches at every level.

Keepaway, however, can get a bit boring if the only objective is to string as many passes together as possible. This is, after all, not a ‘soccer like’ activity – there is no point in possession without a goal at the end. Children prefer to play games that have an identifiable end result to possession, like the one described below.


Grid is 60 yds x 40 yds
2 players (one at each end) on end lines who must use feet only-targets.
Retain possession until able to deliver ball to target
If successful in delivering ball to target, he returns the ball to the successful team and they attack the other end.
Use one neutral player (shown here in yellow) for both teams.

practicing movement, finding space and support play

Key points

‘Spreading’ out as a team when in possession.
‘Positioning’ in order to receive the ball in as much space as possible.
Appropriate controlling touch of the ball.
Pass forward accurately and sensitively wherever possible.
Movement to make forward passes possible: ahead of the ball and from behind the ball.

Black Hole Keepaway

Black Hole Keepaway

Black Hole Keepaway

Focus: Possession through passing, spreading out, using space.

Age: U8-U10 (And older)

Equipment: Flat cones to define the playing area. Coloured bibs to identify teams. A couple of balls.

Players: 12-16 players work well, as few as 10 will work in a pinch, and as many as 20 can be accommodated.

Space: 30×30 to 40×40 or so. Can be done easily on half a field.

Introduction: Getting young players to recognize the usefulness of spreading out can be one of the most challenging aspects of coaching youth soccer. The plaintive cry of “Spread Out!” can be heard from the sidelines in many youth matches. This exercise should help the young players discover the value of spreading out and passing to maintain possession, in a fun and intuitive way.

Setup: Establish area boundaries compatible with the age and number of players present. Four U10’s start with an area about 30 yards in diameter and define it with flat cones. Inside the area, create another, smaller circle about 7-10 yards in diameter. This is the “Black Hole”. For older players like U12, make the area larger, like 40 yards in diameter, and the black hole proportionally larger, like 10-15 yards in diameter. I even use this with U14’s with the centre circle (20 yards in diameter) as the “Black Hole”.

Split the team evenly, and identify the teams with different colored pinnies. In the following diagram, the z team has possession of the ball, and the x team is defending/trying to get possession.

2v1 to goal

Improves tackling, passing and shooting skills

A defensive player kicks the football out to two offensive players. The defender follows the pass and tries to win the football back and clear it toward either of two goals placed wide. The offensive players try to score on goal.

Rotation: The player who shoots or loses the ball rotates to the defensive line. The other two players go to the offensive line.



“Settle the ball on the ground. Keep it in front of you” when receiving the kick from the defender.

“Dribble at the defender”–the offensive player who receives the ball should proceed to the defender.

“Pass the ball once the defender is committed”—if the defender is committed to stopping the dribble, the other offensive player should be open.

“The player without the ball should stay even with the ball or behind it”–don’t get behind the defender or in an off side position.


“Close the space quickly”– Shut down the player with the ball.

“Force the play to the outside”–away from the other attacker.


Play with a goalkeeper.

Allow only one pass for offensive players.

Allow another defender to enter play once the first pass is made.

Require a one-touch shot for a player who receives the ball in the penalty area