So many of the greatest soccer stars didn’t start playing on a regular field—they started in their backyards and neighborhood cul-de-sacs just like us!
Of course, playing without official lines and goal posts forces us and our fellow players to get a little creative. In today’s blog, we’re taking a look at some of the improvised ways we’ve played the game throughout the years.
Trees as goal posts
The classic mode of operation for anyone who’s played the game in their backyard. Since you don’t always have a regulation goal post available, playing the game by trying to shoot the ball between two trees becomes your next best option. No trees around, either? Then you look for whatever’s available—flower pots, shrubs, outdoor toys, lawn decorations—you get the idea! It’s a classic improvisational measure we’ve all done before.
Of course, with less players available and no easy space for a goalie to stand, another variation of the game cropped up in many backyards…
No goalie games
Playing without a designated goalie may seem to go against what soccer is all about---but we disagree! There’s something especially fun about having every player play the role of goalkeeper, defense and forward. It allows everyone to try something they might not get a chance to do otherwise, while still benefiting from the fundamentals of the game—namely, keeping the ball away from the other team!
In many modern neighborhoods, homes are too close together to afford much space in the backyard. In spaces where you can play but don’t want to kick the ball into your neighbor’s patio space, a version of the game with small kicks only works well—it also allows you to focus on tight dribbling and clear, careful passes.
All on your own, or with a friend or two? For smaller groups or solo practice, playing “wall ball” by kicking the ball toward the exterior of your home or garage is a helpful alternative to real game play. Players can kick the ball toward the wall then respond by heading it or stopping it with their knee—they can get creative and don’t have to stop, since the wall will always be there to send the ball directly back.
Soccer over the net
If your backyard has a tennis or badminton net, you might have tried sending the soccer ball back and forth over it with your feet. This take on the game allows players to perfect kicks that soar high and land with precision—which is helpful to know on the field!
Which of these improvised soccer setups have you used? While they may not have been official, they did likely let you have some fun—which is what soccer is all about, anyway.