"Teach soccer zone games to
help your players make
decisions"


Coaching soccer zone games allows the coach to teach various topics like...

  • Dribbling
  • Passing
  • Shooting
  • Defending play
  • Attacking play
  • Transition

The coach can use zone games to really help players to understand how to play game because the game contains all the aspects of soccer.


Warm up


I like to start the session with some basic dribbling and passing to get the players warmed up and ready for the the topic or skill we are going to work on. In this case it is passing and dribbling for the zone games we are about to play.


Soccer zone games


Equipment: Cones, scrimmage vests and soccer balls.

Field: 20x30 yard field split in half with a neutral zone 5-10 yards wide in the middle of the grid.

Game: The coach will split the teams into two teams of three or two teams of five depending on the number of players the coach is working within the soccer practice.

In this example one player will be an attacker and two players will defend.

  • The Players will play 2 v1 in each end zone.
  • A player that wins the soccer ball in their zone can dribble into the neutral zone (middle) - no one can take the soccer ball once the player is in the neutral zone.
  • Once in the neutral zone the player has time to make a decision to dribble or pass into the next zone.
  • The players cannot go into the other zone unless they have the soccer ball, but must get back to their zone if they lose the soccer ball.
  • When a ball goes out of bounds the players take a throw in from that zone or the coach can roll a ball into play.
  • When a goal is scored the defenders start from that zone or the coach can play another ball into a zone to restart play.


The object here is to get the defender with the ball to join in the attack in the other half of the field by either dribbling or passing the soccer ball.

Here are some coaching points to be aware of when playing soccer zone games.

  • When the players are dribbling out of one zone the attacking players will stand right next to the line with the defenders draped all over them.
  • Teach the forwards how to move away and create space so the player dribbling the soccer ball does not run right into the forward.
  • When a player makes a pass to the forward they need to move into the next zone and support the ball - players will pass and watch so this is a great chance to teach.
  • When the player is dribbling the soccer ball they need to take the space quickly.

Variations of the game...

  • There are many variations when teaching players how to play zone games. I like to start with a bigger middle zone just to get the players used to making decisions.
  • The coach can also take the line away and just have the players play and go where they want.

Once the players have finished playing the zone game I take the zone out and just let them play 3 v 3 or 4 v 4.


Return to Soccer practice plans from Soccer zone games



Return to U10 soccer from Soccer zone games

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SBI!