The World Cup Game for End-of-Practice Fun

The best-selling book "Freakonomics" explains that we live in an incentive-driven society. If we dangle incentives, people are more inclined to work harder toward accomplishing the goal in front of them.

Take this thought into youth soccer practice. Young players love being rewarded for a good practice. But what can you do?

This game is one that's proven to be a popular end-of-practice incentive for a job well done. And it's easy to play.

The World Cup Game is a great way to play a different kind of soccer game and reward a good day. Set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of practice--if they deserve the reward--and turn it into a fun competition. Here's how.

How to Play

  • Make sure players are divided up into multiple teams of two. One player (or a coach) will be the goalkeeper not on a team.
  • Have each team pick a country that they will represent. The United States will be popular, sure, but kids will have fun choosing different countries that they will play as in this "World Cup."
  • Using half of the field and one ball, have all the teams on the field when the game begins.
  • The coach throws the ball into the middle of the playing area.
  • At this point, play. The object is for you or your teammate to score on the goalkeeper. But each team will be going up against multiple other teams with the same mission.
  • If the goalkeeper saves the ball, just punt it back into the middle of the playing area.
  • Once a team scores, they leave the game and get ready for the next round. Continue playing with all the other teams.
  • The lone team that doesn't score in that round is eliminated. All the other teams that did score head back onto the field for the second round.
  • Play as many rounds as it takes to eliminate all but two teams. Those two teams then face off in the "World Cup Final" and the team that scores first is the champion.

Variations

  • If you have a lot of players, you can pick two goalkeepers and utilize the entire field.
  • This game can also be played with multiple balls. The maximum number of balls you can use is one less than the number of teams on the field.

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