What is Pickup Soccer? Everything you need to know (2024)

What is pick up soccer? One of the main reasons soccer is known as the beautiful game is because it is one of the few sports that can literally be played anywhere with little to no gear and equipment.

The only things you really need to start playing any variation of this game is the soccer ball itself, your bare feet, some open space, and friends. However, if you want to play pick up soccer you will usually need a bit more equipment such as pennies and goals.

Pick up soccer is, typically, a friendly game where anyone can join and play, from youth players to beginners to amateurs and even professionals, since it’s mainly for fun. With that being said, depending on the level of the players, pickup games can be a great way to train and improve your skills so some players may take it more seriously than others.

In this blog, I will explain everything you need to know about pickup soccer games.

Pickup Soccer

 Image by Sebastian Wienroth

The Power of Pickup Soccer Games

Pickup soccer is a great way to build a community, network with other players, and most importantly play the game and become a better player.  Pickup games are a form of unstructured play, meaning players get to play without being told what to do and they get to learn through play and experience.

Any time you are in an unstructured play setting, such as during pickup games, small sided games (5v57v7, or 9v9), or real games, you have to get into the flow state to achieve optimal focus and creativity, making pickup games an excellent training tool.

During pickup games you are also usually playing against players of different levels, ages, and sizes, which can help expose you to different types of players to learn from and compete against. Pick up soccer, often referred to as street soccer, is one of the reasons how some of the best players of all time were able to develop their talent and become fascia driven athletes, by playing pickup games for hours and hours all throughout their childhood and a lot of the time barefoot. 

Here are many of the other benefits of playing pick up soccer:

  • They are usually free or cost very little money
  • Enhanced game specific stamina and endurance
  • Directly improves the most important skills of the game
  • Can expose you to different playing surfaces, so you get used to all of them
  • Improves mental sharpness and your ability to get into the flow state
  • Provides stress Relief
  • Social interaction
    • Community Building
    • Great networking opportunity
    • Find other leagues or teams to join and train with
Pickup Soccer

Image by Mehmet Turgut

What are the Rules of Pickup Soccer Games?

Pick up soccer games do not have a set of written rules and every pick up game can be different. The rules will be based on how many people are playing, how many teams there are, what the boundaries are, what surface you are playing on and more.

In general it is best to have a host that has set rules or establishes all the rules before the game begins so that everyone is on the same page. The most important rules to set up are

  • What type of soccer ball are you playing with?
  • What type of cleats are allowed?
  • Are you playing in a full sized goal or smaller goals?
  • Goal scoring rules
  • Field or court size
  • Team size
  • Substitutions
  • Game length
  • Boundaries
  • Corner kicks
  • Kick-ins or throw-ins?
  • Slide tackling allowed or no?
  • What happens if there is a draw
  • Do you call your own fouls or how do you handle fouls?
  • How are the teams rotating? Winner stays on?
  • Do players need to bring a light and dark jersey?
  • Make sure everyone has positive attitudes and is having fun
  • What days will the pickup games take place?
    • Monday nights?
    • Tuesday nights?
    • Wednesday nights?
    • Thursday nights?
    • Friday nights?
    • Or the weekend?
Pickup Soccer

Image by Alexander Londono

Do’s and Don’ts of Pick Up Soccer

Although there are no official written rules of pickup soccer, there are some unwritten rules that players should be aware of.


– Respect fellow players of all skill levels.

– Be friendly, do not take losing so seriously

– Be open to trying new techniques and learning from others.

– Communicate with your teammates on the field.

– Resolve disagreements with peace

– Have fun


– Exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior or aggression.

– Overly focus on winning at the expense of others’ enjoyment.

– Hesitate to seek assistance or offer help to newcomers.

– Hog the soccer ball

– Allow conflicts to escalate

Pickup Soccer

 Image by Falaq Lazuardi

How to Find Pick Up Soccer Games

Finding pickup games and upcoming events is easier than ever with the help of technology. However, be aware of the potential dangers of using technology too much which can harm mitochondrial function as well as recovery and sleep.

Use the Internet

Finding pickup games is as simple as typing in “pickup soccer near me.” From there you can look at various websites or threads and see if there are any pick up games in your area.

Apps for Pick Up Soccer:

There are also certain apps that can help you find pick up games such as Meetup and GoodREC, but there are a lot more out there.

Create a Group Yourself:

If there aren’t pick up games in your area, take the initiative to create your own group. Use social media platforms or community bulletin boards to gather like-minded individuals and start your own pick up soccer days.

Pickup Soccer

Image by Pascal Swier

Essential Gear for Pick Up Soccer Games

Although pick up soccer is very simple to play, and can be played barefoot, here is some equipment that you should consider.

The Right Type of Soccer Ball

The most important piece of equipment in soccer is the soccer ball itself and you must make sure that you have the right one for an optimal playing experience. The main differences between soccer balls are for outdoor use on grass and turf or indoor soccer balls for use on harder surfaces.

Also, almost as important as the soccer ball itself is a soccer ball pump to help you inflate and deflate your soccer balls.

The Right Type of Cleats

Depending on the location of a pickup soccer game you will want to make sure that you wear the right type of soccer cleats to minimize the risk of injury. If you are playing a pickup game on natural grass or artificial turf fields consider a pair of firm ground soccer cleats or turf shoes, but if you are playing on harder surfaces or a futsal court it is important to wear indoor soccer shoes.

Shin Guards

Although shin guards are not usually required for pickup games, they can help protect yourself from potential injuries and kicks to the shin if you choose to play with them. Also do not forget the right type of socks or grip socks to provide maximum comfort and cleat responsiveness as well as some shin guard sleeves to help hold everything in place.

Portable Goals:

If traditional goals aren’t available where you want to play, portable goals can be handy. However, many pickup games use improvised goals, such as jackets or cones, although it would be best to have a real goal to play with.


In soccer, pinnies are scrimmage vests that you put over your jersey to differentiate temporary teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

How do you play soccer?

To play soccer you need to master the basics of the game, understand the rules, tactics, formations, positions, and skills needed and play as much as possible so you can learn through experience.

What App can you use to find pickup games?

There are many different apps that you can use to find pick up games such as Meetup or GoodREC.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer the most important thing is to join a team and play the game as much as possible. If possible, analyze high level games as much as you can and your own games as well by recording them with a soccer camera. Also read soccer books, listen to podcasts and interviews watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.


In conclusion, pickup soccer, also known as street soccer in some parts of the world, offers a platform for players of all levels to enjoy the beautiful game in a casual yet competitive environment.

Pickup games can create communities, improve skills, and provide a space for social interaction with other players. With minimal equipment required, pickup soccer can be played almost anytime and anywhere.

So grab yourself a ball, friends, goals, open space, some cleats, or your bare feet, and you are ready to start a fun pickup game.

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