Pickup Soccer Rules and Positions

There's several reasons why soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. The soccer rulebook and the game itself is extremely easy to learn and understand, and all you essentially need is a soccer ball. There are millions of people who enjoy playing soccer across the globe without ever participating in a soccer league or being part of a soccer team. You also don't need a regular sized soccer field or real goal posts as you can easily play a game of soccer on a small patch of grass located in a park or even at home.

In this article, we are going to explore the most important soccer rules and positions in pickup soccer, provide useful information on the differences between indoor and outdoor formats, and discuss the equipment and field size needed to play pickup soccer.

Rules for Pickup Soccer

The main objective of pickup soccer is to have an enjoyable time, develop your skills, make successful passes, dribble the ball, and give everyone the opportunity to score a goal. With pickup soccer, there are also a few concerns to keep in mind when playing with a mixed group of adults, teens, and kids. Firstly, ensure no one gets hurt by a strong shoulder check or a slide tackle, and secondly, ensure less-skilled players get more time with the ball as this offers the best soccer training for those that are still learning the game.

Although there is no referee in most pickup soccer games, as its more of a casual activity played over weekends and players can ref themselves, you will find certain leagues with a referee to control the game. Therefore, we provide the referee soccer rules and positions of pickup soccer to ensure the game is both fair and safe.

1. One of the golden rules of pickup soccer is to ensure everyone clearly understands that both body checks and slide tackles are not allowed. Should a player accidentally body check of slide tackle another player, the other team will receive an indirect free kick where the incident occurred.

2. Prior to the start of the match, have a conversation with skilled players to allow less skilled players more time with the ball. This is the best opportunity for less skilled players to make a pass, dribble the ball, and attempt to score a goal. The more time a novice player spends with the ball, the quicker their skill level will increase as well as the progression of the game.

3. Ensure everyone is aware that no hands are allowed during a game of pickup soccer. Should a player use any part of their arms to control the ball, other than the goalkeeper of the game, the other team will receive an indirect free kick where the incident occurred.

4. Ensure each player knows that there are no penalty shots in pickup soccer. There's only a handful of people that enjoy being the goalkeeper and in most pickup soccer games the position is not occupied by a player, allowing everyone more time with the ball.

5. All goals are required to be scored below knee height to ensure no one uses their hands or attempts to be the goalkeeper for the game.


In a professional soccer game, there are two teams featuring 10 players on either side along with a goalkeeper in each team. For a pickup game, you will have far more fun with fewer players as everyone will touch the ball more often, and even though assigning positions to each player is preferable, it's also more entertaining when everyone gets involved during the game.

Don't bother assigning a player to be goalkeeper during a pickup game. Most players don't enjoy playing goalkeeper as its far more likely for them to get injured, especially if they don't know how to play. In addition, should you only have 3 or 4 players on a side, there's no need to even consider assigning positions such as defense or forward. Once you have more than 5 players on a side, you can easily assign two players to hang back and defend or request a player to play the forward position for a better chance at goal, but it's entirely up to you and the team.

Field Size

The field size of pick up soccer will greatly depend on the number of players on the field. If you have between 6 and 8 players, you will need a field space of 35 meters long and 20 meters wide. If you have between 9 and 14 players, you will need a field space of 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. If you have between 15 and 20 players, you will need a field space of 70 meters and 50 meters long.

Indoor Format

While playing an indoor pickup soccer game, there can only be a maximum of 24 players on the field and a maximum of 4 teams with 6 players or 3 teams with between 7 or 8 players along with 1 substitution for a team of 8 players. The team sizes in an indoor pickup game are either 6, 5, or 4 plus a goalkeeper and the play time is 8 minutes long.

Outdoor Format

In most outdoor pickup soccer games you can have a maximum of 12 players on the field and a maximum of 3 teams with 4 players in each team. The team sizes usually feature 4 players without a goalkeeper or 5 players with a goalkeeper.