Competitive small sided soccer game called War

A very popular game for children (and fun-minded adults) that emphasizes beating the player. Some of your youngsters will want to play this small-sided soccer game all day!


Soccer game set up

  • Set up a 20 x 40 yard square with both ends open to form your pitch. Place two cones about one yard apart in the middle of both ends to form goals. After you have set up the field, divide your players into two equal teams.
  • The teams line up outside the pitch behind the goals, opposite each other. Assign each player a number.
  • The coach starts the game by tossing the ball on to the pitch and calling a number.
  • The players of that number from each team run into the field of play and try to score through the opposite goal.
  • If you want to emphasise close ball-control skills, make it a condition of this soccer game that a goal can only be scored if the player has control of the ball and is no more than two steps away from it when the ball crosses the line. If they do not have control or are more than two steps away from the ball, the goal does not count.
  • Alternatively, you can encourage quick shooting by allowing players to shoot as soon as they get sight of goal.
  • Defending skills, (closing down, positioning between the attacker and the goal, not “diving in”), can also be emphasised and reinforced in this fun soccer coaching session.
  • If the ball goes out of the grid, throw another ball in to keep the game flowing. Try throwing it in high, so players experience controlling a bouncing ball.
  • After players are back into position, call out another number.
  • Once a player scores, award that team one point. Make sure everyone has a go.


Extend the soccer (football) skills

To make the game more interesting, call out a second number while the first pair are playing. Now you have a 2 v 2 team situation. Now you can focus on defensive techniques, communication, quick passing and running off the ball.

You can add a conditioning soccer drill element to the game if the players have to run right round the marked out area when their number is called, entering the field of play through the opposite goal.

Ensure both teams stand in the goalmouths while they wait for you to call out a number!

For more small-sided soccer games, order a copy of 64 Small-Sided Soccer Games, by Michael Beale, Chelsea FC academy coach.

Click here for a small-sided soccer game to get your players turning defence into attack.