Teach Your Kid to Play Soccer

Table of Contents

Six Steps for Kids to Learn Soccer

So, you want to learn how to play soccer and be really good at it? Or are you a soccer coach or parent who wants to help their kids learn how to play soccer?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive post we will discuss all of the soccer tips, guides, and tutorial videos to help you or your kids learn how to play soccer!

Additionally, we will cover soccer equipment, soccer uniforms, as well as selected soccer video guides for each tip! Scroll down for ‘soccer games for kids’.

6 Steps To Learn How to Play Soccer for Kids

Here are ten easy steps for any kid to learn how to play soccer, with the help of coaches, parents, teammates and friends:

1. Learn & study basic soccer rules

We’re not saying that your kid has to start memorizing the soccer rule book, but it would help if an older kid or parent explained very quickly the basic rules of soccer. It would be even better to show your kid what a real soccer court looks like, whether it’s a field or even a blacktop, as a great way to help them visualize the soccer game upon first hearing about it.

2. Kick around the soccer ball

Familiarize your kid with the soccer ball by simply having them kick it around – either against a wall or into a goalpost. Some parents may even let their kids tap a soccer ball around the house just to get used to it, but we’d understand if you are hesitant to do so!!

3. Play pickup games with friends

Getting a few friends together to play pickup soccer in a loose, fun environment is a great way to learn soccer. It won’t be super competitive, this way everyone can have fun, and kids will slowly learn how to play together and get more familiar with the

4. Practice basic soccer drills

If your kid wants to get good at soccer, they need to practice soccer drills and get them down pat. If they can master the following 3 soccer skills, they can likely become the best player on their team:

  • Dribbling
  • Passing
  • Kicking/Shooting

5. Join a league or after-school soccer team

Now that your kid has practice soccer skills, drills, played soccer games, and has is familiar within the semi-competitive nature of soccer games, they should join a team with a coach. This will allow your kid to develop further as a soccer player in a structured environment, while both learning how to play soccer for kids, and getting better under the guidance of a coach.

6. Watch soccer games

It’s important to have fun! Assuming your kid has learned how to play soccer, plays soccer with friends, plays on a soccer team, and practices soccer drills, well, they might want to relax with soccer as well. By watching professional soccer teams with stars like Messi, any kid can learn more about soccer, dream about becoming a soccer star, and enjoy soccer in a fun, relaxed way.

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7. Play soccer video games

UNICEF Kid Power is all about being active, and this entire soccer article is all about being active on the soccer field. However, sometimes your kid may want a break, and it could be fun for your kid to play a soccer video game to get a better feel for the strategic side of the game, as most soccer video games will have the video game player act as a coach.

 

Now that you’re kid has mastered the 7 steps on how to play soccer, below are more in-depth videos on how kids can practice soccer as well as soccer training videos for kids:

Soccer Training Videos for Kids

The first portion of this Soccer for kids tutorial page will focus on physical practice, training, and tutorials, and will include lessons on how to kick a soccer ball the right way, and many other soccer ball fundamentals, tips, and tricks.

How to Kick a Soccer Ball (With Power)

  • The Epic Soccer Training YouTube channel is a great soccer resource for anyone wanting to learn soccer, especially for coaches, parents, and kids. In this video on how to kick a soccer ball, the host shows how to properly kick a soccer ball with both left and right feet. The correct soccer kicking form is crucial in order to generate power, even if you have a small frame. Most coaches don’t teach this proper form, which is why this could be a great element to your soccer game.
  • The important aspect is to kick with the inside base of your foot. The biggest mistake is that kids will kick the ball at the end of their foot (better for a chip). But hitting the soccer ball from the base of your ankle gives you more power, as your foot is more locked in and can generate much more power. As you kick the ball, you have to drive through fully, thereby sending the ball forward, on the ground, with a nice amount of power and drive.
  • The follow through also needs to be quick, with torque, and your shot will be a nice line drive, hopefully into the goal!

How to Curve a Soccer Ball

  • Now that you have mastered how to kick a soccer ball in a straight live drive with power, it’s time to learn how to curve the soccer ball on your kick. FreeKicksPT is a very solid soccer video channel, though it is important to watch the video and read subtitles as the narrator is in a foreign language.
  • Start your kick by taking 5 steps backward, (or leaving yourself 5 steps to run through), and it can be at a 45, 60, or 90 degree angle, depending on your preferred position. Because the goal of this kick is curve and not power, you want to use the top inside of your foot, closer to your toes.
  • When you strike the ball, you want to aim for the spot on the ball that is slightly under the middle mark of the ball. This gives the ball lift as you hit it. And as you follow through with your foot, the ball will naturally curve, depending on where you aim and follow through. Watch the video to see slow motion replays to really understand how to kick the soccer ball with curve.

How to Dribble a Soccer Ball

  • Once you have mastered the two primary soccer kicks, it is time to learn how to dribble a soccer ball. Any kid who can dribble a soccer ball will be way ahead of time. Additionally, Progressive Soccer is a great video channel on YouTube and easily demonstrates how to dribble a soccer ball in this video tutorial.
  • The main focus of dribbling a soccer ball is to keep the soccer ball next to you at all times. The way to make his simple and easy is to have lots of little touches, instead of just a few powerful touches. Constant light touches on the soccer ball will keep you on your toes and the ball close to you. Soft and delicate is the key. If you have space, then you can take a bigger touch, assuming you are starting to sprint with the soccer ball.
  • The difficult part of dribbling a soccer ball involves cutting. The way to do this is with speed and precision. If you need to cut to the left or right, quickly tap the ball in that direction. In order to get a nice soccer dribble going, you can do this back and forth in an effort to lose your defender. Basically, the more active you are with your cuts, the better you can dribble the soccer ball until you are ready to pass or kick!

 

How to Chip a Soccer Ball

  • Chipping a soccer ball is what separates the beginners from the pros. If you can learn to chip a soccer ball, you will definitely be ahead of your peers, especially if you are in a younger class of players.
  • Chipping a soccer ball is basically kicking a curveball, but in a straight direction. It can be used as a pass or shot, but mainly for passing. So, if there is a defender between you and your defender, you can lob it over, directly into your teammates legs.
  • The basic premise for any kid to be able to chip a soccer ball involves striking underneath the ball, by turning your foot out, and hitting it with the big toe part of your foot. It is important to lean back when you hit it, and to follow through with your foot really low to the ground, and not high.

How to Play Midfield in Soccer

  • The midfield players on a soccer team are hugely important to the success of any soccer team, and are often described as “the busy players, the engine of any team”. Their job is to support the tackle while moving toward the goal, while playing both offense and defense.
  • Describing how to play midfield would be tricky to do in words, so it’s best to watch the professional soccer coaching video we’ve posted below, courtesy of the Live Strong YouTube channel.

How to Practice Soccer Alone

Playing soccer is obviously a team sport, but it doesn’t always require a team in order for one to practice, train, and continue to improve. That is why we’ve featured this awesome video from YouTube channel Progressive Soccer, which will show any kid how to practice and train alone.

The main requirement of this solo soccer training video is a wall. (And of course, a soccer ball!). By practicing against a wall, any kid soccer player can practice by themselves. In this video, they show awesome solo soccer practice drills which cover:

  • Ball control
  • Passing and first touch
  • Dribbling
  • Shooting

How To Be a Good Defender in Soccer

  • Defense is crucial for any team to win a soccer game. In this awesome video from SoccerBasics101, we learn that the key to become a good soccer defender is instinct and sacrifice.
  • A typical defense consists of a 4 man backline, including a left and right back who support the midfield, and two centerbacks, one of which plays as a centerback while the other plays as a sweeper. Watch this video to watch
  • The ultimate key to defending, according to this video, is to be aware of everything: attackers, their movement, and all space that is created.

How to Punt a Soccer Ball

  • The video on how (kids) can punt a soccer ball from ARS Goalkeeping will show you how to punt a soccer ball with extra accuracy, and how to add maximum power to your punt. A good punter will keep opposing team defenses far back and is super important for any winning team.
  • The main thing is dropping the ball: you never want to throw the ball up nor do you want to just drop it down. Rather, a combination of the two: you want to drop the ball forward into your stride, as your leg is rising in order to kick the ball. It is ideal to do it in 1 full motion, to keep the ball secure in your space. Watch this awesome training video for an awesome soccer ball punt demonstration:

 

How To Get in Shape for Soccer

  • We’ve got another great video from Progressive Soccer, in which we scale out and talk about how to get in shape for soccer season. If you’re kid wants to be the best on his soccer team, then make sure to show them this getting in shape soccer video!
  • This soccer training includes yoga pushups, squat jumps, tuck planks, as well as a run. It would be ideal to do this training while watching the video demonstration.
  • The link in the YouTube description offers a free soccer training course!

 

How to Juggle a Soccer Ball

  • Juggling a soccer ball isn’t necessarily going to help your kids’ soccer team win games, but it will definitely be a cool skill to learn, and of course, likely helps improve overall soccer familiarity and dexterity.
  • This video from AllAttack demonstrates how any kid can to learn to juggle a soccer ball. The most important aspect is a mental one, as every juggler needs to maintain focus while they juggle, and to be persistent as well. Eventually, any kid juggler will develop the proper muscle memory so that juggling becomes second nature. Another interesting facet is the usage of hands: when training for this, you don’t need to actually juggle perfectly, in fact, it is ideal to use your hands and catch the ball in between each kick, so that you get familiar with juggling in a comfortable way.

 

Soccer Uniform and Equipment Tips for Kids

Below are a few video tutorials that we found helpful for kids who want to learn how to take care of their soccer uniform, cleats, and general soccer equipment. Check them out!

How to Clean Soccer Cleats

  • Cleaning soccer cleats might not come to mind as an important part of being a soccer player, however, it is an important for your kid to make sure his cleats are clean: this way they last longer, and your kid will probably have a better soccer performance!
  • We found an awesome video courtesy of Cleatstagram, who explains in depth how to clean up your soccer cleats. With a combination of Mr. Clean and soaking laces in hot water, your kids’ soccer cleats will be cleaned up in no time!

How to Break-in Soccer Cleats

  • In addition to cleaning your soccer cleats, your kid will likely want to break them in. Brand new soccer cleats can be notoriously stiff and tricky for any kid to break in. This helpful video courtesy of Football Boots YouTube channel explains how to use a combination of hot water and newspaper (that’s no typo!) in order to speed up the process of breaking in your soccer cleats.
  • It might take more than a few minutes to break in your kids’ soccer cleats though, as they require airing out and to dry naturally. Feel free to watch the video on 2x speed in order to speed up the viewing demonstration:

How to Wear Soccer Shin Guards

  • You can’t just put on a shin guard to protect yourself while playing soccer. There is a proper way to do it, and it is important for kids playing soccer to know how to properly wear shin guards.
  • eHowSports shows us the simple 3 step process for any kid to quickly learn how to wear soccer shin guards:
    • Put on a pair of athletic socks
    • Apply shin guard over the socks
    • Then pull up separate pair of knee socks over the shin guards

 

How to Deflate a Soccer Ball

  • This might seem like the last thing to think of when it comes to playing soccer, however, deflating a soccer ball is a useful skill when it comes to…packing! That’s right, if you’re packing your kids’ sports bag for school or camp, and you don’t have room for too much sports equipment (such as soccer balls), then this cool deflation video courtesy of DownCoat Deflators will be very useful:

How To Wash a Soccer Jersey

  • This one probably applies more to soccer moms and dads rather than kids, since not too many soccer-playing kids are washing their soccer jerseys these days. Regardless, learning how to wash your kids’ soccer jersey is a useful skill.
  • The most important takeaway from this video is to turn your soccer jersey inside out, and then turning the washing machine on cold. And of course, when it comes to drying, stay away from your dryer! Drying your jersey by hanging it out to dry is super important to keeping the size of your jersey intact. Watch the demonstration video from SoccerProVideo:

How to Help Your Kid Improve in Soccer

One of the most underrated ways to make your kid a better soccer player is to keep soccer on his mind all the time. This means having a soccer post and net in your backyard, and making soccer a daily routine. When your kid gets home, make sure to encourage him to kick around the soccer ball. It is helpful to have your kid play soccer in a friendly manner – instead of kids’ soccer drills, come up with soccer games that your kid can enjoy.

On Saturday’s and Sunday’s, if your kid usually lays around the house and watches TV, make sure to encourage him or her to kick around the soccer ball. Tell your kid to invite over friends so that they can have a friendly soccer match. Additionally, it helps if one of the parents is outdoors too, playing soccer and leading by example. This will encourage your kid to follow suit. Once soccer becomes part of your daily life, your kid is sure to improve his skills and become a better soccer player.

One other method to help your kid get better at soccer is to enlist your kid in local soccer leagues. Nearly every mid-major city has a youth soccer league for your kid to join. Maybe you can join as a parent coach, or get involved with the league in other ways. By having your kid join a soccer team, he or she will be exposed to ongoing soccer practices, and weekly soccer matches (depending on the league schedule).

And if your town does not have a soccer league, then consider exploring this for yourself. Ask your friends if their kids want to take part in a local friendly match, and if there is enough interest it can become a weekly soccer game. You’d be surprised at how many families – specifically parents, who will be happy to send their kids off to soccer matches in their local towns, with friends, acquaintances, and neighbors.

Once the kids show up, you don’t even need to referee the game. Just let the kids play and choose teams on their own – they’ll figure it out and have fun. It might even be fun for parents too – they get to hang out and mingle with one another, motivate their kids from the sidelines, and even offer some light soccer coaching for their kids.

Teaching Your Kid How to Play Soccer:

As we stated above, there are 4 basic soccer skills that every kid should know: dribbling, passing, kicking and shooting. All of these skills can be learned, but there are a few elements at play here in terms of the age of your kid, and when is the best age to maximize certain skills:

  • Pre-School Kids Learning Soccer: Kids above the age of 2 are able to start truly learning how to play soccer. Ideally they will need a size 3 soccer ball with 12 ounces of weight. The circumference of the ball should be approximately 22 inches. You can ask any sports store rep and they can recommend a pre-school soccer ball for your 2-5 year old kid. In addition to the soccer ball, you’ll also need a soccer net, and they sell official children’s soccer nets which you can buy. In terms of skill building at the pre-school age, every kid will be tempted to kick, but it’s important to stress dribbling at first. You can demonstrate dribbling and have your kid mimic you in the process. Perhaps offer a point system for the total number of seconds that your kid can successfully dribble without kicking. The next step is ball control. The most basic form of ball control involves catching a pass from another player without the ball bouncing off your legs. This is difficult to do and must be trained from a young age, but once your kid masters this, they will be better than anyone else. What your kid should do is practice catching the ball not just with their feet, but also with the stomach or chest. Because this is more physical, it is best done at the age of 5 or 6.
  • Kindergarten – Second Grade: By the time kids reach the age of 6, they can start to truly play with a slightly more elite level of skill involving subtle aspects of the game, including dribbling and catching the soccer ball. At this age, soccer player kids can use a size a 4 ball that measures 25 inches and weighs between 13 and 14 ounces. In terms of skills to practice, these kids should focus on the more fundamental skills which will make a focal point of their respective soccer teams. This means they must improve their kicking and shooting ability. If you’re playing with your kid in the backyard, this would involve kicking the ball to them and having them shoot or kick toward the net, by either catching and kicking or directly kicking your pass. Both of these are great training endeavors. By getting them familiar with different types of passes and positioning, this can be very advantageous.
  • Grade 5 – 7: This is the age where soccer players become elite. As kids start to grow, they have more muscle, stamina, and general physical ability to partake in team soccer sports and display skills. This is the age where training and practice are crucial – all of the soccer greats trained multiple times a week and even more than once during the day! Training should entail long passing sessions, with catching and kicking from different positions and even far ranging distances. Make sure your kid practices kicks to the net from point blank range all the way down the other net. Displaying kicking dexterity and range will be a big part of your kid’s soccer game development.

Fun Soccer Games for Kids

Looking for fun ways the soccer players in your family can practice dribbling, passing and shooting in your own backyard? We rounded up a few fun-to-play kids soccer games that will help your kids build skills in soccer—and earn lots of UNICEF Kid Power points!

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 kids soccer 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 kids soccer game that 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 kids soccer 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 is a classic kids favorite soccer game which is very easy to learn and also serves to be a useful soccer drill for kids. The kids soccer version of Red Light Green Light, if executed properly, will help kids learn to dribble the soccer ball while also maintaining control of it while moving. Simple choose a playing area and have each kid line up with their own soccer ball. When you shout out “yellow light!”, kids should move forward while dribbling the soccer ball at a slow pace. When you should “green light!”, kids should start to run forward, but also while dribbling the soccer ball, this time at a faster pace. And then you should randomly shout “red light!”, at which point each kid must immediately stop with their soccer ball in place, by their leg! This is a great soccer game that kids love to play because it literally keeps them on their toes, creates excitement, and also makes them much better soccer players. Also feel free to add in other lights such as “blue light” or “orange light”, each with a different meaning to encourage some variety, or to raise the level of the game if their are older soccer kids playing.

Soccer Dodgeball: Talk about taking a classic kids sports game and converting it into an awesome kids soccer game. This soccer game that kids love uses similar features of the classic dodgeball game, but of course, adds in elements of soccer. Simply have all of the kids run around in a circle, and then have a few kids inside the circle, armed with soccer balls. As the kids run around the circle, the kickers inside are allowed to launch soccer balls with kicks at the encircling players. Any kid who gets hit is then out and must join the inside of the circle. This keeps going until only one kid is left running around the circle. If you have advanced soccer players, you can also have the kids running around the circle dribbling soccer balls to make it even hard to last for too long without being nailed. This is a great soccer game to end any drill with, as kids love dodgeball, so they will definitely enjoy this kid soccer game.

Easter Egg Soccer Hunt: This soccer game keeps kids excited because it takes a pastime that many kids enjoy – Easter egg hunts, and brings soccer into the mix, in a fun and exciting way. Obviously, soccer balls are a bit bigger and easier to spot than Easter eggs, but this is still a tough game, as the soccer field can span quite a few yards. Simply have the coach spread out soccer balls across an entire field, and then when the game starts, the kids need to get all the soccer balls (only using their legs) into the nets. To make this more competitive, you can split the field into two sides, and have two teams competing against eachother. The first side to get all the soccer balls into their nets is declared winner!

Freeze Tag: This is a classic favorite kids soccer game, and is also great for teaching kids how to play soccer if they are still getting their bearings. Start by setting up an area where kids can dribble the soccer ball. Make sure each kid gets a soccer ball, and let them start dribbling in the dribbling area. Then have any coaches (or parents) chase after kids who are dribbling and try to tag them. Any kid who is tagged is then frozen in their place, and must place the soccer ball above their heads, and then stand still with their legs apart in a V format. They can only become unfrozen if another kid dribbles a soccer ball through their legs, at which point they are released from the frozen position and can re-join the game!

Also, if you only have one coach on hand, feel free to substitute a coach with another kid, who can easily take on this role. This particular soccer game is great for not just building dribbling skills, but also encourages teamwork, as kids must help each other out in an attempt to remain free (and unfrozen!).