U5 Soccer ‘Drills’, Games and Activities

u5 soccer drills

Under 5 Soccer ‘Drills’ That Give Your Players a Positive Experience of The Game…

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‘Hey Coach!…why do you talk funny?’

That was one of the first things a 5 year old said to me at soccer training one day. I’ll never forget it. It showed the complete innocence, honesty and openness to learn that this age group can offer.

My weird Irish / London / Northern English accent aside – coaching soccer to Under 5’s can be most rewarding, fun and challenging age group to work with.

Because of their age, the stage they are at in their physical development and their super-short attention span – you will really need to bring your A-Game to every session.

And I don’t just mean in terms of soccer knowledge. That comes second when you’re coaching soccer to under 5’s.

I mean your human, almost childlike side that connects instantly with your young budding superstars.

What to Expect from Under 5’s

  • Short Attention Span
  • Lots of noise
  • Lots of laughter
  • Lots of lace tying and …

…answering lots of questions that have absolutely nothing to with soccer!

Enjoy it!

Your Priorities Coaching Under 5’s

You should approach your coaching in a very light hearted, fun way and try to find a balance between developing soccer skills and allowing your young players to have fun.

You might also find yourself saying ‘no hands’ or some other variation as they’ll naturally want to pick the ball up.

Your priority however is to provide a safe, fun and positive learning environment that helps build each individuals confidence levels.

Main Topics of Focus

Specific soccer coaching topics are kind of irrelevant with this age group. You’re going to want focus on fun and high energy practices while helping them develop some key areas that will not only support them in becoming better footballers but lay the foundations so that they can live healthier more active lives.

  • FUN. FUN: So you can keep them engaged in your session and provide a positive experience
  • Basic Ball Control Skills: So they can get used to the feel of ball and develop the necessary skills to build upon as they get older.

Under 5 Soccer Drills, Games and Activities

Sidenote: have a look at our drill guides for Under 6’s as you might be able to get even more ideas. 

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Hit The Coach 

Hit The Coach Under 5 Soccer Game

Drill Details

This game can be really fun for your young players to take part in. At Under 5’s the thought of kicking a ball against an adult for fun is a great idea!

Make sure all you players have a ball each. The aim of the activity is for each player to keep control of the ball, dribble and then kick the ball against the coach. 


  • Scoring System

You have two options – You can either give points to individuals who manage to hit the coach or you can give the points to the whole team to make it slightly more inclusive. 

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Monster Invasion 

 (U5) Monster Invasion

Drill Details

This game works on your players close ball control, dribbling and running with the ball.

They will also need to be aware of their position in regards to the ‘Monster’.  Setup a big enough area so all your players have room to dribble with a ball each.

The ‘Monster’ will be either a parent or a coach (although you can use another player if you want).

The ‘Monster’ can walk round like a zombie trying to steal the ball from the players.

This is your chance to be a big kid – so enjoy it!


  • Variation #1: For variation and progression you could make one of the players the monster as they will likely want to succeed in being a ‘good monster’. Alternatively add another parent or coach to the mix so you have two ‘monsters’ working together at the same time
  • Variation #2: Another progression would be lay down some markers and cones within the marked out area. So not only will the players need to avoid the ‘Monster(s)’ but also any obstacles you have put in their way. 

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[Warm Up] Pac Man IMG

Drill Details

Give each player a ball. They must dribble and keep the ball on the lines. They are allowed to go anywhere the line takes them but they cannot jump lines. 

PAC Man can be used as a stand-alone game or as part of a warm up. 

This game is a great way to get your players to work on their ball control. It’ll also get them to focus on keeping the ball on the line. 

While the game can be played on a normal soccer pitch, it works really well in an indoor space where there other sports markings such as those used for basketball. 

Pac Man was also included in one of my Warm Up Games – you can check out that post here for more ideas on different soccer drills you can use with your players


  • Variation #1: As a progression, give one player a different colored vest and get them to chase down the other players. They get a point for every player they catch and tap on the shoulder. You can do this progression with or without a ball for the chaser. The chaser must also stay on the lines of the pitch. 

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Sharks & Minnows

Drill Details

Setup a large enough area to give enough room for all your players to dribble round.

Split the group into two;

  • 1 group will be the Minnows and will have a ball each within the middle of the setup area (BLUES).
  • Then 2 designated players will be the sharks and will take up a position on the outside of the setup (REDS).

On the Coaches whistle the players with the ball start dribbling around in the space within area.

The two sharks start to sprint round the area before making their way into the circle. Once the Sharks are close to entering the game the Coach shouts ‘SHARK ATTACK!’. 

The sharks must now look to win the ball from the Minnows and kick their ball out of the circle. The Minnows must defend their ball.

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Fox Tails

[Warm Up] Fox Tails IMG

Drill Details

Fox Tails is another game I took from the Warm Up Guide I wrote. This game can actually be played with or without a ball – however the energy levels are far better when it’s played WITHOUT the ball. 

Each player has a vest tucked into the back of their shorts. On the Coaches whistle, they players must run, dodge and try and take the vest of another player. 

The player with the most vests at the end of the game wins. 

While this game can be played with vest and pinnies, I would highly recommend you pick a set of these up – it’ll be a great investment of your money and time. 


  • Variation #: You can take two approaches with this game. If a player loses their vest then they are out of the game OR (and this is the one a recommend) if a player doesn’t have any vests left they still continue the game.  

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Battle Ground

(U5) Battle Ground

Drill Details

Split your group into 2 teams.

Line each team up on opposite ends of the area. On the coaches whistle, the players from each team dribble into the area and take aim at an oppositions ball.

The aim is to use their ball to knock an oppositions players ball out of the area while still keeping their ball in play.

If a players ball leaves the boxed area they have been defeated and must wait until the next game starts.


  • Variation: To make the game a little more inclusive you can give each player 3 ‘lives’


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