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

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

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. There is not much equipment that is needed to start playing soccer and all you really need is a soccer ball, unless you are a serious player, then you may need more training equipment.

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

In this blog we will explain everything you need to know about pick up soccer games.

What is Pick Up 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.

During a real full sized game you are playing against live opponents and you are dealing with the unpredictability of the game. During a pick-up soccer game you are also dealing with the same unpredictable nature and you are usually playing against players of all skill levels, experiences, ages, and backgrounds.

Any type of game that is unstructured, meaning the players are just playing, such as during pickup games and full sized games, you have to get into the flow state making pick up soccer an excellent training opportunity.

Pick up soccer can often be referred to as street soccer and many of the best players in the world grew up playing pick up soccer all throughout their childhood, a lot of the time barefoot which helped them become more fascia driven athletes.

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

  • Free to participate and play in
  • Directly improve the most important skills of the game
  • Enhanced game specific endurance
  • Playing in different surfaces in different sized teams
  • Mental sharpness
  • Social interaction
  • Stress Relief
  • Community Building
  • Great networking opportunity
    • Find other leagues or teams to join and train with

What is Pick Up 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. The most important rules to set up are

  • Team size
  • Skill level of players allowed
  • Game length
  • Boundaries
  • Corner kicks
  • Kick in or throw-ins?
  • Slide tackling allowed or no?
  • Mercy goal rules
  • What happens if there is a tie
  • Do you call your own fouls or how do you handle fouls?
  • How many players per team
  • How are the teams rotating?
  • 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?

What is Pick Up Soccer? Image by Alexander Londono

Do’s and Don’ts of Pick Up Soccer

Although there are no official rules of pick up soccer, there are some unwritten rules that new people should be aware of and this includes do’s and don’ts.


– Respect fellow players of all skill levels.

– Be friendly, do not take losing so seriously, and

– 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 ball

– Allow conflicts to escalate

What is Pick Up 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 pick up games is as simple as typing in “pick up 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, Justplay, and Conquer

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.

What is Pick Up 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.

Almost just as important as the soccer ball itself is a soccer ball pump to make sure your ball is at the perfect air pressure.

The Right Type of Cleats

Depending on where the pickup soccer game you will be playing takes place you need to make sure you have the correct type of soccer cleats to minimize the risk of injury and take proper care of your feet.

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.

Portable Goals:

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you play soccer?

To play soccer you need to master the basics of the game, understand the rules, tactics, formations, 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. I would suggest Meetup or Just play.


In conclusion, pick up soccer, also known as street soccer, 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 and stress relief. With minimal equipment required, pickup soccer can be played almost anytime and anywhere.

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

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