What is Pickup Soccer


Pickup Soccer is a type of recreational soccer where players gather without an organized team. Players range from beginners to experienced veterans and even pros, and the game is played outdoors in a casual and friendly atmosphere. Pickup Soccer has become increasingly popular as it combines the affordability and accessibility of street soccer with the thrill of competitive play. Whether you're new to picking up soccer or a pro, here's a quick introduction to get you started.

Definition of Pickup Soccer

Pickup soccer, also known as pickup football in the UK or informal football, is an amateur sport where people gather in a public location to play a game of soccer casually. Players typically divide into teams and play with whatever they have available, such as jumpers, stones, and other items that can be used to mark the playing field. There are no set rules and no referee; participants agree upon a vague set of rules before starting their game. Pickup soccer is popular among adults who use it to stay physically active while enjoying the camaraderie of their peers. The pickup soccer game is only for recreational purposes — it does not involve professional players or organized teams with professional management. Instead, pickup soccer is a casual social activity, usually among friends and acquaintances interested in being active together. Pickup soccer can occur anywhere from school fields to public parks, wherever assembled groups can find enough room for a decent-sized court. Two goals can be easily constructed from nearby objects — often tree stumps or even ideal posts made of discarded furniture!

History of Pickup Soccer

The history of Pickup Soccer dates back to the mid-1800s. It is believed that the early game was played with a manila rope and a cane, creating an open field. Early versions of Pickup Soccer did not use rules or referees, instead relying on the players to agree upon standards and expectations. This led to a more creative style of play and an ever-evolving game. By the 20th century, pickup games had become a popular form of sport in many countries around the world. Professional leagues began to take shape, leading to standardization in equipment, rules, and regulations for safety's sake. Nevertheless, the thrill and joy of playing pickup soccer haven't diminished over time - it remains one of the most enjoyable sports today. Pickup Soccer remains popular as it allows players to train their skills in fast-paced games in which both teams blend attack with defense for optimal strategy and results. During pickup games, different players can bring unique skills, which further help enhance everyone's overall performance on the pitch. The intensity level also remains high in such games as players are determined to prove their competitiveness while also playing in high spirits due to the fun atmosphere at various levels, whether recreational or professional.

Benefits of Pickup Soccer

Pickup soccer is a great way for players of all ages to have fun and get active. It's an informal gathering of soccer players who play without a referee, substitutions, or set teams. As an official set of rules does not regulate pickup soccer, it can offer a lot of benefits to players. Let's dive into the advantages of pickup soccer and explore how it can help you become a better player.

Improve Physical Fitness

Pickup soccer, commonly known as kickabouts in some countries, is an informal, unorganized soccer match. Unlike other organized sports with structured leagues and specific rules, pickup soccer games occur on makeshift fields like community parks, allowing players to show up and play. This freedom makes jumping in and participating in a game more accessible. Playing pickup soccer can boost physical fitness by providing plenty of opportunities for cardiovascular exercise. Pickup games usually involve regular running or jogging of short distances and occasional sprints or running at full speed every few minutes. This activity also helps players build their muscular strength through subtly advanced exercises like jumping to meet the ball with their head, stretching their arms, and kicking accurately from various angles. Furthermore, if the game includes two teams, cooperative efforts are required to score goals resulting in more advanced spatial awareness and ball control when playing with more proficient players. The flexible nature of pickup soccer allows for different levels of contact, helping players challenge themselves without suffering any severe risks or injuries. The sporadic nature also helps newbies ease into the game gradually before taking part in higher intensity matchups against more experienced opponents down the line, hence allowing them to control how challenging they would want the game to be while increasing their fitness levels through playing regularly over time. Pickup games can be set up according to player preference while allowing them delightful pleasant hours with friends or perfect strangers alike, who come together just for the joy of playing the sport they love - Soccer!

Develop Social Skills

Pickup soccer can encourage healthy social developmental skills that can be used in sports and other areas of life. From being independent and making choices to developing a team mentality, engaging in pickup soccer is an excellent way to build social skills. Playing on a team allows you to collaborate with others to achieve success while using individual initiative to solve problems or deliver solutions. This can help you to learn how to express yourself clearly and negotiate effectively with others. It also promotes respect between teammates, which naturally extends into friendship outside the soccer pitch. For a successful match, pickup soccer games also require reciprocity– taking turns as both leader and follower. This helps children learn how to effectively engage everyone by allowing participants equal opportunities for success and leadership roles. In addition, the dynamism of pickup games creates an atmosphere where everyone has equal chances of success regardless of experience or ability level; this encourages players to be creative & innovative problem solvers so that everyone comes out a winner!

Gain Soccer Knowledge

Pickup soccer games provide an invaluable opportunity to learn a variety of in-game strategies and skills. One of the primary benefits of pickup soccer is gaining a better understanding of the game itself. Playing against different opponents and in various situations helps players understand how to make split-second decisions on the field. Moreover, occasionally playing with someone more skilled or experienced, participants can discover new levels or facets within the game they might not have known existed. How often have we seen someone trying a move without understanding why it works? It's like driving until you're comfortable on an unfamiliar road – knowing all the rules, shortcuts, and secret back streets gives you an advantage compared to those who follow their GPS mindlessly. Pickup soccer does the same for your development as a soccer player – it teaches you to think before acting, assess your options from all angles, and understand your response on instinct. By being put into situations where creativity is needed for success — like 1v1 battles — players are exposed to improvisational opportunities that help them build a vision and develop intelligent decision-making and confidence when executing skillful dribbling duels in tight quarters or mismatches quickly during counter-attacks. The influx of ideas, motivations, and solutions provided within pickup games are valuable resources that can be easily absorbed by young aspiring players willing to soak up knowledge from high-level coaches or peers while keeping peak concentration levels throughout every match!

Rules of Pickup Soccer

Pickup Soccer is a fun and easy way to get a good workout and enjoy the camaraderie of playing a team sport. Pickup Soccer can be played in a variety of settings, from parks to backyards. Specific rules must be followed to keep the game fun and safe. Let's take a look at some of the basic rules of Pickup Soccer.

Number of Players

Pickup soccer is a game of football (or "soccer" as it is known in many countries) played without an organized team, referee or ball. It can be played with a few friends at the park or on the beach and involve sizable numbers and fields. Pickup soccer is typically made up of two sides with anywhere from four to 20 players on each side, depending on the size of the field and available players. Players decide amongst themselves before beginning who plays for which team and generally stick to that for the duration of play. There are no set rules for how teams should look - many people prefer to pair off in groups by skillset, while others agree on dividing into even-numbered sections or drafted participants if there are many players. When an uneven number of players is present, some may play with three versus four or other unequal numbers; ideally, pickup games should end up with an even number of players so nobody has to wait out from each session. Of course, some people will prefer odd-numbered play as they could often get a chance to rest while their teammate gains possession without them when they're off doing something else. Depending on how your game goes, player rotations between teammates so everyone has ample playing time are also possible! Pickup games create unforgettable memories among gamers everywhere - friends laughing together, challenging each other, and making great plays.


Substitutions can only occur during dead ball situations, called by either a player or referee. Referees will initiate substitutions by either signaling the request with a whistle or verbal command. They may also give a substitution card to the team in question if there is no official scorekeeper. Players must enter and exit the game from their side of the mid-field line. Players entering or exiting the game must receive approval from both teams before taking part in the game. Any illegal substitutions will result in an immediate forfeit of possession and ball position to the opposing team. In most pickup soccer games, teams are allowed unlimited substitutions, except during play stoppages due to an injury or goal celebration. Subs during such blockages are allowed as usual, but these unique circumstances limit how quickly replacements may be made and how long they can participate on-field. Given these restrictions, captains should take extra care while rotating players in and out on-field during these times to safeguard any rights that may be violated by playing too many substitutes at one time (i.e., rendering certain players inactive).

Duration of Play

Pickup soccer games are generally meant to be short, fast-paced, and entertaining. As such, the duration of play usually varies depending on how many players participate. Often, games will last 15 minutes, and then switch out players as needed to keep an even playing field. If not enough players are available, you may need to rethink the duration and shorten or lengthen the game accordingly. Ultimately, the best practice is for all players to agree on what works best for everyone involved. If you have an odd number of participants, then it's recommended that one player designate themselves as a "floater" who can take turns playing with either side throughout the game. This practice helps keep pickup soccer games fair by preventing one team from having an unfair advantage. Another important consideration with regards to durational length is that when a game reaches its conclusion, and no clear winner is determined, it's common courtesy in pickup soccer that neither team should be declared winner or loser but rather end in a draw (also known as "sudden death"). This ensures that no other players feel slighted when trying hard to win each game they play!

Equipment Needed for Pickup Soccer

Pickup soccer is a great way to stay active, have fun, and meet new people. Whether you are just starting or a seasoned player, you will need some essential equipment for a successful pickup soccer game. From balls to cleats and shirts, there is a lot of gear that you will need to prepare for your pickup soccer match. Let's look at some of the essential pieces of equipment you'll need.

Soccer Ball

Soccer balls are an essential piece of equipment for any pickup soccer game. Soccer balls should meet the standard size and weight requirements set by FIFA and can easily be purchased from most sporting goods stores or online. Be sure to select the correct ball size for your age group. The standard sizes range from size 3 for children aged eight and under to size 5 for adults. However, some competitions may require alternative measures. The ball's material is also essential to consider when selecting one. For example, PU soccer balls feature a synthetic leather finish, providing a greater degree of control in wet weather than normal plastic or rubber soccer balls. As with any outdoor sport, it is important that whatever ball you choose has been designed to withstand different elements it will be exposed to, such as rain, cold temperatures or snow, etc.

Soccer Cleats

The proper soccer cleats or shoes will make a massive difference in the player's maneuverability and protection on the pitch. Soccer players must have the right shoe for their players and the field. For example, metal cleats are not allowed in many areas because of safety precautions, so turf boots should be worn when playing indoors or on artificial turf. Players typically choose between molded cleats (also known as "classics") or detachable soccer cleats for outdoor pickup soccer games. Molded cleats come in various sizes and shapes, providing better grip and stability than other types of footwear. Generally, there are different length options — shorter lengths are better suited to play on hard ground, while longer distances are suitable for softer surfaces such as grass-covered fields — but no matter what type of surface you play on, you should always ensure that your soccer cleats have enough flexibility, balance, and traction when running at full speed with high speeds changes of direction, jumps and awkward landings. Also important to consider when purchasing a new pair is the surface you are playing on firm-ground (FG) soccer boots for natural grass surfaces offering spikes/cleats to increase your grip; hard-ground (HG) designed explicitly for more challenging surfaces like artificial structures; and turf (TF) meant for any non-sand surfaces including artificial turf or indoor courts — these boots often consist of multi-directional rubber studs helping provide better control with less strain on ligaments compared to firm ground shoes.

Shin Guards

Shin guards are essential protective equipment for any soccer player, especially during pickup soccer games where intensity and close contact may exceed what is seen in an organized match. Typically made from molded plastic or lightweight foam and padded fabric, shin guards protect players from getting hurt by errant cleats and hits. It is important to purchase shin guards with the appropriate level of protection. Guards come in different sizes to fit a wide range of leg shapes, so it is important to try them on to ensure they work properly. It is also important that the straps be securely fastened around a player's calves without the guard sliding down during play. Shorter socks should be worn over shin guards so their straps can be tucked beneath them for extra security if needed. Longer socks may need to be worn when playing in scorching climates but should not be used as this could decrease protection against kicks and another potentially dangerous contact between players.

Finding Pickup Soccer Games

Pickup soccer is a great way to stay active and make friends while playing a sport you love. All you have to do is find a game and join it. This can be done by checking online forums, reaching out to your local soccer leagues, or asking other soccer enthusiasts. Finding a pickup game can be intimidating, but plenty of resources are available to help you find the perfect match for your skills!

Parks and Recreation Centers

If you are looking to play pickup soccer regularly, one of the best options is to seek out local parks and recreation centers in your area. Playing at a park or recreation center allows you to become part of an organized environment that may offer various opportunities for soccer games. Many cities have designated fields and courts for different sports, including soccer fields or futsal courts. These areas often offer amenities such as goals, sideline markers, benches, and trash cans to help players stay organized when they play. Such facilities may also provide leagues and programs by season so players can participate in friendly matches with others at their skill level. You must familiarize yourself with the rules for any field so everyone can enjoy their time there! Additionally, parks and recreation centers commonly host summer camps or day programs centered around soccer activities for children and teens throughout the year. These day-long camps may provide t-shirts or uniforms as well as snacks and drinks for participants to enjoy during play. Participating in these activities can be a great way to get involved in the game while still challenging yourself against other talented players!

Soccer Leagues and Clubs

Organized soccer teams, leagues, and clubs are great avenues for pickup games if you want to join a team. Team sports offer an opportunity to meet people with similar interests, develop your skills and push physical limits. Teams like these often provide the benefit of regularly practicing with members who may become reliable teammates and opponents. Team resources typically include providing coaches, clinics, and other supports not available in pickup games. Joining a soccer team is also a supervised way of teaching younger players the game's rules and how they are expected to act in game situations with linesmen, referees, coaches, parents, and fellow teammates governing what's allowed on or off the field. Registration or membership fees may be associated with joining a specific club or league team, including costs for uniforms, equipment, and tournament play. Still, much is given back via coaches' training sessions focusing on skills development for players of all ages, which helps them build long-term playing aptitude even outside club play. Most leagues have divisions for different age groups, which can match players up against other similarly skilled opponents working to earn higher ranks within the team/league itself or possibly even on a regional level like state playoffs etc.

Online Resources

Online resources are growing in popularity for players looking to find a pickup soccer game. Numerous sites, such as Pickup Soccer, Fivesquare Ball, and Soccer Regos, allow you to find players and teams that share your skill level and interests. Just find a local game, sign up and follow the payment and meet-up times instructions. Of course, some people would rather look for pickup soccer games the old-fashioned way – by playing at their local park or school. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people who enjoy playing soccer. Once you've identified one or two well-known pickup fields - usually with goals set up permanently - it's easy to continue attending those same fields regularly if the games are of acceptable quality. For international players looking to get involved with pickup soccer, there are now global networks that have been established in several cities around the world where pickup soccer is becoming popular. If you're traveling abroad, consider looking into joining or organizing pickup games through these global networks, as they serve as great meeting spots for international travelers with a shared passion for soccer.


Pickup soccer is an accessible, affordable, and fun way of playing the game. It can be enjoyed by experienced players and complete newcomers and is found in cities, towns, and villages worldwide. Frequent or occasional pickup soccer players enjoy building a social network around their shared interest in the sport while staying physically active and developing their skills simultaneously. Held in public places or even private gardens, pickup soccer provides an enjoyable experience that combines physical activity with like-minded people, allowing everyone to improve their skills while making friends in a relaxed atmosphere. Whether you're a professional footballer looking for extra practice or a beginner seeking to make new friends, pickup soccer offers something for everyone.
Recent Posts