The 2018 FIFA World Cup — the tournament for the world's biggest sport that happens only once every four years — is here. And already in only a few days, the Cup has produced some impressive underdog performances. Yesterday Mexico beat reigning champions Germany giving athletes of every age proof that with hard work it is possible to come from behind and win!
If all that excitement has your kids itching to get out there and into the game here are a few fun-to-play kids' soccer games that will help them work on their dribbling, passing and shooting skills— and earn lots of UNICEF Kid Power points!
9 Really Fun Soccer Games for Kids:
Attack! This Soccer Coach Weekly game keeps players on their toes by switching up team-allegiance mid-game! It works like this: the players are divided into three teams, with two goals at either end of a 40×30 yard field. The match begins with two teams designated as attackers. Players on the 3rd neutral team take up positions from which they can assist either team score. Great for teaching players how to look for other options on the pitch, the game is played for five minutes, then each team of three rotates, giving another group the chance to play the neutral role. Check here for more details and diagrams.
Musical Balls: This play on musical chairs from Surefiresoccer requires at least 4 players and 3 soccer balls. To begin, each player dribbles the ball until mom, dad or big sib calls “Change!” Everyone then has to find a new ball—those who don’t leave the field. After the each round, one ball is removed. Last person on the field with a ball wins! This game is great for developing defensive dribbling skills.
Escape: One of 100 fun games to be found at Coaching American Soccer, Escape is great for practicing dribbling skills and racking up UNICEF Kid Power points. It works like this: All players get a ball except two “sheriffs.” Those with balls (the “outlaws”) line up at one end of the field then make a fast break for the opposite end, dribbling all the while. The sheriffs then try to catch and tag out all the outlaws before they can escape to the other end of the field.
What time is it Mr. Wolf? This fast-paced cross between Red Light Green Light and Tag is a go-to game leagues use to help dribblers improve their speed and footwork. All players line up with a soccer ball at one end of the field. Mr. Wolf positions him/herself at the opposite end with back turned to everyone else. Once someone asks “What time is it Mr. Wolf?” Mr. Wolf calls out say, “five o’clock,” then the players dribble forward, counting to five. When Mr. Wolf announces “It’s lunch time,” all players turn to quickly dribble back to the starting line before Mr. Wolf can tag one of them out, take their ball, turning them into the next Mr. Wolf.
1:1 Soccer: This drill from SoccerXpert offers kids ages 9 and older a chance to practice quick transitions while learning to withstand the pressure of one-on-one matchups. What’s required: a 10 by 10 ft. play area and two equal teams. To begin, an attacker dribbles the ball to the middle of the field to try to get past a defender and reach the opposite side. Players who make it, pass the ball to the next person on their team. Those who lose possession of the ball, trade positions with the defender who then gets his or her shot to bring the ball up the field and score.
Red Light Green Light: This easy to learn classic game also serves as a useful soccer drill that helps kids learn to dribble and maintain control of the ball while moving. To begin, have each kid lines up with his or her own soccer ball, then explain the commands. When players hear you shout “yellow light!” they should move forward while dribbling the soccer ball at a slow pace. “Green light!” is the signal for kids to run, dribbling faster. At "red light!” kids must immediately come to a stop with their soccer ball in place at their feet! Kids love to play this soccer game because it's exciting and really keeps them on their toes, making them much better soccer players in the process! This game can be tailored to different skill levels by introducing other commands — “blue lights” or “orange lights” — that challenge kids to execute other soccer moves.