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PE Soccer Games: 6 Fun and Engaging Soccer Activities for Elementary PE Classes

For physical education teachers, the sport of soccer provides a perfect opportunity to get students active and engaged in their learning. Incorporating soccer lead-up games into your lesson plan is a fun way to help students improve their skills while keeping them active. These games and activities help break up the monotony of traditional PE class learning and get students moving and thinking in game-like situations.

Soccer Games and Activities for a PE Class: 6 Awesome Physical Education Soccer Lesson Ideas

In this blog post, I will provide 6 soccer lead-up game and soccer activity ideas that can be used in a soccer unit in your physical education classes. The benefits of incorporating soccer lead-up games into your Physical Education class will be explored, along with tips for implementation. Additionally, six different soccer games and activities that can achieve this goal will be presented.


What are the benefits of incorporating soccer lead-up games?

A good way to teach essential soccer skills is by practicing the skills using soccer drills or by utilizing stations. However, at some point, the students must use what they've learned in a more fun and game-like setting. In contrast to other sports, a game of soccer traditionally needs a large field with the regular-sized goals and specific markings on the pitch. Implementing only one soccer ball, students have fewer opportunities to develop their skills and practice game strategy. Soccer lead-up games are more efficient than regulation soccer or performing traditional soccer drills because they don't require a super-large space, multiple students at a time, or only one ball.

Soccer lead-up games and activities are designed to help students enhance both their soccer skills and their game strategy. They are usually played in small, medium, or large-sized groups and typically involve specific skills and strategies necessary for the game of soccer. These activities are designed to be stimulating, interactive, and enjoyable. Games that focus on honing skills such as dribbling, ball control, passing, goalkeeping, and shooting are great soccer lead-up games.

What are the benefits of incorporating soccer lead-up games?

These games are valuable for physical education classes because they get students active and engaged in a soccer-specific activity. Not only this, but soccer lead-up games for PE are essential for developing positive personal and social traits such as teamwork, communication, and cooperation. By playing these games regularly, students will also be better prepared for traditional soccer games that they play in a sport or community setting.

In addition, the highlighted PE soccer games in this blog article directly match-up with SHAPE America Standard 2 which states: The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.*


Tips for incorporating soccer lead-up games into your lessons

  • Discuss and practice a variety of soccer skills earlier in the soccer unit (prior to lead-up games)

Soccer Skills
  • It is important that everyone understands the rules, regulations and boundaries for the game before beginning to play soccer

  • Break down soccer jargon to help your students understand the game better

  • Choose a few students to volunteer and demonstrate the activity for the class (or small groups) before you start

  • Encourage students to be active, play fair and enjoy themselves

  • Familiarize them with key terms early on in the unit.

Soccer Terms
  • It is important for students to have enough space around them so that they can move safely

  • Take breaks during the game to encourage good behavior or provide resting periods

  • Have a final discussion to discuss what went well and things to work on for next time


Now that we know just how crucial soccer lead-up games are, and have some useful tips on integrating them, here are six different games to use in your soccer lessons.

1. Soccer Croquet


  • Students (in partners or trios) travel around a playing field, kicking a soccer ball through the croquet “wickets” using the least number of “touches” through the entire course. Skill Focus: Dribbling and Kicking


  • 1 soccer ball per player

  • 14 – 20 cones (for wickets)- 2 cones make up each wicket

  • 9 – 13 number markers (taped on cones)

Game Instructions and Rules

7 to 10 wickets (2 cones make up each wicket) are set around a large playing area or field- the distance and number of wickets depends upon the age and skill level of the students.

Soccer Croquet
  • Students are paired and then placed at one of the wickets to start the game

  • Players follow the rules, strategy and etiquette of croquet but instead of hitting the ball with a mallet, they kick it

  • The goal is to get around the whole course and back to their starting wicket before their playing competitors do the same (1-7 down; 8-13 back)

  • Each player must kick their ball through the wickets (2 cones) before advancing the next wicket

  • Like in croquet, players can “knock” away the other players ball with their ball

  • A player is allowed to kick again once making it through the wicket, however players alternate kicks during regular play between the wickets

Pic by Kimberly Blitek @blitek_kblitek

2. Search and Capture


  • Students work in teams to collect soccer balls from another team's collection hoops and dribble them to their home collection hoop Skill Focus: Dribbling, Agility, and Ball Control


  • 1 soccer ball for each player

  • 4 large hula hoops in the corners

  • 4 cones to mark the designated playing area

Game Instructions and Rules

Four teams are formed and retreat to their home collection hoop. Soccer balls are evenly distributed in each team’s home collection hoop.

Soccer- Search and Capture
  • On a signal (whistle or music), the students from each team run to another hoop, steal a soccer ball and dribble it back to their home collection hoop

  • Any player can go to any other team’s hoop at any time

  • There is no defense in the game- students strictly “steal” and dribble soccer balls back to their home hoop

  • Players may not guard their home collection hoop

  • On a ending signal, the team that has the most soccer balls in their home collection hoop are declared the winning team

  • The teacher can vary the locomotor movement to each hoop (without the ball) at the start of each game

3. Capture the Pin


For one team of soccer players (kicking from an end line) to knock down more bowling pins than the other team Skill Focus: Kicking, Trapping, Ball Control, Passing, Accuracy


  • 10 – 15 soccer balls

  • 6 large cones and/or lines

  • 2 hula hoops

Game Instructions and Rules

10 – 20 bowling pins are spread out on the mid-line. Two teams of students spread out on each end line. Several soccer balls (10 – 15) are distributed to players. Two GOPHERS from each team start and play in the "No Kick Zone” between the end kicking lines.

Soccer- Capture the Pin
  • On a “start” signal (whistle or music), the students on each end line (teams line) begin kicking balls toward the mid-line bowling pins attempting to knock them over and ultimately “capturing” them- balls are kicked for accuracy not velocity or height

  • The soccer balls must be kicked from on or behind the end “kicking lines

  • If a soccer ball gets “stuck” in the “no kicking” zone between the end “kicking” lines, one of the two GOPHERS can retrieve the ball and dribble or pass it back to one of their teammates who is on or behind the end line

  • If a player “knocks down” a pin, he/she may run to the center line and pick the bowling pin up and bring it over and put it in their team’s “collection” hula hoop

  • The team that collects the most pins after a set period of time (i.e. 3 to 5 minutes) is declared the “winning” team

  • The GOPHERS should be changed out after each game

Video by Heather Isler @IslerPE

4. Soccer Score Ball


To score a goal on another team by kicking a ball past their “scoring line” with the ball rolling or bouncing before it crosses the scoring line. Skill Focus: Kicking, Trapping, Goalkeeping, & Punting


  • 3 to 5 soccer or foam (indoor) balls per group

  • 4 cones to make up scoring lines- 2 cones at each end line

  • 2 cones to make up mid-field lines

Game Instructions and Rules

The game is played in groups of 12 - 24 players - A couple fields can be set up outside or

1 group in a gym. Set 2 cones up to make a scoring goal line on each end of a field (approx. 50 - 100 feet apart for each goal). Then set 2 cones up for a mid-field line.

Soccer Score Ball
  • Players start kicking the soccer balls and attempt to make the ball go between the other player’s home cones (their scoring line) from a bounce or roll

  • For a goal to count, the ball must bounce at least once first or roll across the scoring line

  • Players start the rally by kicking the ball from 10 yds. in front of their own goal but can then shoot from the place that they “trap” the ball or wherever the ball lands, rolls and comes to a complete stop. It must however, be in their own half to kick

  • One goalie is designated for each team- They are the only one allowed to use their hands to stop it and they can also punt the ball from that spot- Switch the designated goalies at the end of each game

  • The goal is to get as many balls to go past the opposing team's line as possible in a set amount of time

  • If a ball does not cross half on the kick or punt, the player/team that kicked can retrieve it again, take it back to 10 feet in front of their goal and kick or punt again

  • If the ball goes wide of the scoring line, the defending team can get it and bring it back to 10 ft. in front of the goal and shoot from there to start the “rally” again

5. Soccer Pin Ball


Teams attempt to knock their opponent team’s bowling pins over by dribbling, passing and kicking a soccer ball past their goalies into their “pin zone” Skill Focus: Kicking, Dribbling, Trapping, Ball Control, Passing, Accuracy, & Goalkeeping


  • One color basketball or playground ball for 80% of the students (players)

  • A different color basketball or playground ball for 20% of the students (Pac-Men)

  • Scrimmage vests can be used as an alternative

  • Gym Lines

Game Instructions and Rules

Mark the playing area with 5 sets of cones- Two sets mark the goalie zones, two mark the pin zones and one set marks the mid field (see diagram below). Five to ten bowling pins are spread out on in the “pin zones”. Two or three goalies spread out in each team’s goalie zone. Field players spread out in the playing area. Two or three soccer balls can be used at the same time.

Soccer Pin Ball
  • Players spread out in the playing area and the game is started with each team kicking off from the mid-line or with the teacher rolling the soccer balls into play

  • Each team attempts to secure the ball and dribble, pass and shoot the ball with the intent to knock over the other team's pins (or 2 liter bottles)

  • Regular or modified soccer rules are used (see indoor soccer or micro soccer)

  • The goalies can use their hands but must make saves inside the “goalie zone”

  • The field players must only use their feet, legs, torso and/or heads to play

  • If a ball is shot into the “pin zone”, only the goalies of the defending team may go back in and “fetch” it but they must wait for it to stop rolling before they go in

  • If the ball knocks down a pin, a point is given to the offensive team (marked on the scoreboard). The pin is placed back upright and the game continues with the defending goalie kicking back out to one of their teammates

6. Soccer Golf


  • Students, in groups of 4, travel around a field kicking a soccer ball (using golf etiquette) attempting to “hole out” at each of the designated 9 - 18 holes (pre-set using hula hoops as target holes) Skill Focus: Kicking, Passing, Accuracy, Control, & Golf Etiquette


  • 2 soccer balls per playing group of 4 (1 ball for each pair), 1 soccer ball if playing in pairs

  • 9 – 18 cones (for tees)

  • 9 – 18 number markers (taped on cones)

  • 9 – 18 hula hoops (targets for each hole)

Game Instructions and Rules

The game is played in groups of four players in teams of two vs. two or 2 at

each hole working together for a score. Nine to eighteen hula hoops (holes) are set around a large playing area or field- if possible holes can be clearly marked with a

number on a cone (by hoop). Each group of four begins at a designated hole (i.e. hole # 5) so that the entire class of students are spread out. Score cards can be dispersed prior to the activity (at the discretion of the teacher).

Soccer Golf
  • Students are paired and then put in foursomes (or play by themselves) and then sent to a starting hole somewhere out on the field or playing area

  • Pairs alternate kicking a soccer ball starting from the cone of the previous hole and working towards the next numbered hoop... i.e. students kicking toward hole number 6 begin at the cone that is placed beside hole # 5. They place the ball close to the cone for their first kick

  • The previous cones are used as the tee’s for the next hole to avoid having to put out extra equipment for the activity but it’s possible to set up separate tee lines

  • The team furthest away from the next hoop (hole) gets to kick first. A kick is taken on the “fairway” from the point that the ball stops rolling

  • Scorecards can be kept with partners helping each other keep up with scores

Video by Kyle Bragg @ElemPE1


Final thoughts

It's always great to have a variety of soccer lead-up games and activities in your physical education class repertoire. Not only do they help keep students engaged, but they also provide opportunities for skill and social development. In this blog post, I've highlighted six fun and challenging soccer lead-up games that will help improve your students' kicking, passing, shooting, and accuracy skills.

Before students start playing any game, check that they have the necessary equipment and know all the rules. As you keep an eye on each group, try to encourage collaboration and good sportsmanship while also providing corrective and encouraging comments. It's essential to change the games frequently so your students stay engaged. Remember, above all else, to have fun! A little pre-planning goes a long way. By spending a preparing for your physical education class, you can easily work these soccer games into your lesson plan and provide students with an enjoyable experience.

Thanks for reading! By using the provided games and following the tips, you can ensure that your next soccer game in PE class is a success! What's your favorite soccer lead-up game? Share it with me in the comments below.

*SHAPE America. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author.


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Need some FREE physical education games?

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Cap'n Pete's Power PE Soccer Games



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