Dear Coach,

If you are coaching - or about to start coaching - players in the 5 to 8 year old age range, pay attention.

I'd like to show you how you can engage your players, introduce essential soccer skills and - most importantly - create a safe and friendly place for young children to learn and have fun.

You can get all this from my new coaching book Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds.

I'm Keith Boanas, an English Football Association Coach Educator and Head Coach for Surrey County Football Association. After 29 years coaching kids I've brought together some of my favourite games with new themes that I'm sure will energise your coaching sessions.

Can't see the image? Click here.

This is a game taken from my new soccer coaching book Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds. Get Ghostbusters and 24 more fun games for just £12 (that's just 48p a game!).

Have you ever tried to run a drill for a group of 5 year old children? Did it go well?

I doubt it.

You see, they're called drills for a reason. What young player would want to spend their time passing a ball back and forth in a straight line?

You will be lucky if you can run a drill for 5 minutes before their interest has disappeared completely.

Start your session by telling your players that you are going to do some technical drills and it will probably go something like this:

“We are going to do some passing drills today”

A hand shoots up from one of your players.

“When are we going to play a game?”

“Not yet, we've got to do these drills first”

“Aww, coach”

If they don't have fun, they won't come back

Children view drills for exactly what they are, boring and monotonous. If you keep running drills not only will you lose your player's interest, ultimately, you will lose your players. No child is going to come to your sessions week after week if they are not having fun.

So, how do you overcome this? The answer is simple, play games.

What can Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds do for your players?

  • Teach basic soccer skills
  • Let them have fun
  • Engage young children
  • Educate
  • Promote teamwork
  • Fire their creativity
  • Keep them coming back

Let's look at each of these:

Teach basic soccer skills

Games are the best way to teach a range of basic soccer skills. In Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds I have covered all of the basic skills such as passing, shooting, dribbling, heading and even goalkeeping.

Let them have fun

At this age, above all else, children want to have fun. That's why the soccer authorities in the UK and United States back the idea of fun games.

Games are fun which is why we continue to play them well into adulthood. Top soccer matches are still games, they've just developed a more competitive, and commercial, edge.

Engage young children

How do you get a child to buy into your games? Make them engaging.

The games in Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds are based on things that every child can relate to, they use spaceships, pirates, tigers, monkeys, aliens and aeroplanes and a whole host of other ideas as inspiration (see column, right for a list of game names).


Games can educate your players beyond the learning of basic soccer skills. My games are based on simple sets of rules and educate players in simple ideas such as right and wrong. They are introduced in a fun environment and with achievable, desirable objectives.

Introduce Teamwork

Young children can be selfish, they're not always keen to share their toys and they strive to achieve objectives independently.

Give them a ball and they'll want to keep it.

Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds introduces teamwork in a variety of ways.

  • Working independently.
  • Working in pairs.
  • Working as a group.

The majority of games in my book require one ball per player so that everyone can be involved even though the games are all team based.

Fire their creativity

I've used these games over and over again and I know that they work. However, I'm never afraid to make changes, to the rules, to the playing area, or even to the premise of the game.

If your children would rather be a fighter pilot than a spaceman, go for it. Based around a simple set of rules the children can put whatever spin they like on each game. If they want to be medieval jousters, that's not a problem.

You can even let them change the rules. It's a case of how would they like to play the game as much as how should they play the game.

Keep them coming back

If young children play a game and enjoy it you can be sure they'll want to keep on playing – ever played peek-a-boo with a baby? Ever seen a baby get bored of it? Your children are going to latch on to these games and want to play them over and over again.

At a very young age you don't need to introduce endless variety. Ask the children what game they want to play and off you go. They'll be back week after week, there's a big difference between consistent fun and monotony.

The Games

Space Wars - shoot down the enemy.

Ghostbusters - dodge the spooks.

Aliens - they'll get you, eventually.

Pirates of the Caribbean - round up your shipmates.

Over The Border - cross the border and try to make a tackle.

Space Invaders - dodge the lasers.

Tiger Tails - try to steal the other tiger's tails.

King of the Ring - who will be the last player standing?

Don’t Feed the Monkeys - feed the monkeys and the zookeepers get angry.

Airball - don't let the ball touch the ground.

Robocop - walk, don't run, and head to score.

Zombie Attack - don't get bitten.

Under Arrest - escape to get the ball and score.

Twins - work together or you'll get nowhere.

Chain Gang - stay together to win.

Head For Home - fear-free heading.

Dive Bombers - stay low to hit the target.

Bumper Cars - you'll be safe if you don't get bumped.

Tomb Raiders - steal the skull to win the game.

Bodyguards - protect your V.I.P.

Star Gates - use the gates to travel through space.

Funny Turns - display your turn and see who can copy best.

Cat and Mouse - steal the cheese.

Pool Table - pot as many balls as you can.

Behind Enemy Lines - break through the line to deliver the package.

Take a look at some of the actual illustrations used in Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds...

Tomb Raiders

Under Arrest

Pirates of the Caribbean

Tiger Tails


Funny Turns

What coaches are saying:

"The games were easy to understand and implement. The kids really enjoyed them, and it made my planning much quicker."

"I know that small kids absolutely love any kind of game, so they always are a big part of my practices."

"Our young children really enjoy the games - so far their favourite games have been Ghostbusters and Cat & Mouse."

"Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds is a fantastic collection of fun, simple, clear, entertaining and most of all instructive games."

Read in full below...

Age specific coaching

The English Football Association recognised the need to introduce soccer to young children in a way that is fun and specific to their age requirements and introduced new Youth Modules to address this important age of learning – which I highly recommend. This book should be a complement to the first levels.

Similarly, in the United States there is the National Youth License which works towards the same goal of age specific coaching.

The English Football Association issued technical foundations for coaching soccer in their 2008 document 'Developing World-Class Coaches and Players'. They said:

At a young age, players need to be taught how to:

  • Become technically competent with both feet.
  • Control the ball effectively in a variety of different situations

All players should:

  • Be comfortable in possession
  • Understand that incisive forward passing, at the right time, leads to goal scoring opportunities.

U.S. Youth Soccer - the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the game's governing body in the U.S.A. - provide a template on their website to show what a typical training session should look like for young players. Here's what they say...

United States Youth Soccer - Example Training Plans

Under 6 Format

Duration is 45-60 minutes.
Every child has a ball.
Individual activities.
Warm-up activities include movement education approach...with and without a ball (10 mins).
Fun games and activities with and without a ball (20 mins).
Conclude with 3v3 games to two goals, with no goalkeepers.

Under 8 Format

Duration is 60 minutes.
Every child has a ball.
Individual and partner activities.
Warm-up activities with and without a ball - dribbling and passing (15 mins).
Maze games and target games (25 mins).
Conclude with 4v4 games to two goals, with no goalkeepers.

Send My Copy of Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds Now

Easy to Use - Simple to Understand

Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds has been designed to be as easy to use and understand as possible. Download a free game from the book here and look for the following:

The set up - Showing everything you'll need to run the game, from the suggested number of players, to the size of the area, and the number of balls and cones.

Main Objectives – What is the game principally teaching? Passing, dribbling, heading, and so on.

The rules – Who goes where, how to score a point, who wins. This section has everything you need to know to keep the game running.

What to call out - Never be lost for words with these concise phrases to address the key factors of each game and to boost your player's confidence.

Progressions - Ways to adapt and develop the game to suit your players.

Coaching hints – That little bit of advice. These hints are not key to the game but they'll make your life a little bit easier.

Difficulty - Indicating the relative difficulty of game. Choose from easy, medium and hard. Even new coaches will find them easy to run.

Key - Making sure you can differentiate between runs and passes, and pitch markings and try lines in the illustrations.

Illustrations - Three pictures clearly show how the game is set up and developed, and roughly how it should unfold as you play it.

Captions - Explaining the key points of the game.

Available in a format that suits you

You can buy Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds in two formats:

A PDF document you can store on your computer. You can help the environment by saving trees and using less chemical-based ink by only printing out the games you need for the day.

Make the most of this versatile format to print copies for players, parents and colleagues.

The PDF can be printed on any standard paper size.

You will need Adobe Reader which comes packaged with most PCs and Laptops.

However, in case you do not have it, I will send you a link to download the reader free of charge with your order.

Order Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds in PDF Copy Now

A printed spiral bound colour manual for your bookshelf, desk or kitbag. Spiral bound means you can use it without having to hold the page open as with most bound books. The book also has a durable cover front and back to prevent rain and mud damage.

Order Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds Printed Spiral Bound Copy Now

Or, get both formats. Combine the benefits of immediate PDF delivery and the ease of printing individual drills, with the practicality and durability of the colour printed version.

Order Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds PDF and Print Copies Now

Special Bonus - My 25 Top Tips Collected in 29 Years of Coaching

Managing a group of young children is a difficult task at the best of times, and particularly hard if you are new to coaching.

However, there are small steps you can take that will improve your confidence speaking to children, help you to get and retain their attention, create a safe and fun environment and make sure that the game is enjoyed by all of your players.

To accompany each of the 25 games in the book I've written down 25 hints and tips that I've picked up in my 29 years as a coach.

These are not essays on mastering the art of coaching, but short, sharp insights that you can easily digest and make an instant difference to how you handle your team.

For example:

Essential Tips for Coaching Young Children #9

“Use your player's names. If a player has a nickname that is fine, but don't make one up, it could upset them.”

These short sharp tips will help you tiptoe through the potential minefield that is youth soccer coaching. In the example above it's far too easy to offend a child or their family by giving them a nickname. They have a perfectly good name already, so why risk causing offence?

What coaches are saying about Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds:

"I use Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds on a regular basis with my U8s team and have tweaked some of the sessions to use with my eldest lads team who will be U12s in 09-10. It certainly helped freshen up my sessions. Its easy to follow with plenty of variety in the sessions to keep our 5 year olds interested for an hour. From a service aspect it was emailed to me with in mites of may payment being taken, which was brilliant enabling to me to do one of the sessions that evening.

I am a FA Level 2 coach and heavily involved with our Club Schools link where we take 4 to 6 years olds from all the local primary schools for a free six week coaching course and then invite those who are interested to join our U6s "Academy".

I have used most of the sessions or games as we tend to call them at this young age for this group. The favourite is the "Pirates of the Caribbean" especially the bit when I shout cannonball and they all get to dive on the deck which due to the good old British summer means they can usually find a muddy bit to dive in. Funnily enough the mums are not too keen on me doing this session.

I have printed the manual off and put it into a plastic presenter which I keep in my kit bag but usually struggle to find it due to other club coaches "borrowing" it to get some ideas for their sessions.

The best thing is it didn't cost me anything, I took it to a managers meeting to show another coach how good it is and the Club Treasurer saw it and immediately gave the money for it from Club funds he was so impressed."

- Andy Spence, Brandlesholme Warriors JFC, England

"I wish this manual existed when I started coaching 5 year olds!

I have played for over 25 years, but the first piece of coaching advice I received was "line drills are a thing of the past". That left me a little lost as to what to do. I spent hours and hours searching for "games" to play at practice.

This is a great resource for those new to coaching small children! The drills and exercises are well explained with illustrations, descriptions and instructions. And most importantly, the players have fun playing the games."

- Kirstie Tippe, SBAA, Canada

"I was able to utilize a number of the activities for my youth camp which attracts approx 80 players per year.

The games were easy to understand and implement. The kids really enjoyed them, and it made my planning much quicker.

Thank you for an excellent product and value."

- Dave Smith (& his daughter, Abbey), Fun In The Sun Soccer Camps, Indiana, USA

"I have been an FA level 2 coach for over 5 years and I have worked with primarily 16 year old players and above. When my daughter wanted to start playing football I inevitably got roped in to helping with the coaching. What I didn’t appreciate immediately (although it only took me a short time to realise) was that coaching 7 year olds puts a whole new set of demands on the coach!

So off I went in search of inspiration. Having already been a subscriber to Better Soccer Coaching for my senior/adult sides what better place to start. I wasn’t disappointed.

Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds is a fantastic collection of fun, simple, clear, entertaining and most of all instructive games which keep my under 8’s interested and enjoying themselves.

I think their favourite game so far is probably Cat & Mouse, they love the physical activity, the fun element, but most of all they love the competition.

The club I am involved in as Vice Chairman at Hawkwell Athletic in Essex also runs a soccer school for children from 4 years old to 8 years old and we attract over 100 children every Friday night. Since getting the Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Years Olds booklet I have started to introduce your games at these sessions. Even the mischievous ones tend to behave when we are using one of these games (especially Pirates of the Caribbean with me as Black Beard!).

Well done on a great product.

Since I’m the team photographer (or jack of all trades as the parents call me) I am very rarely in our team photos, however, shortly after implementing some of your games we did end up getting runners up at a local tournament and I have attached a photo of me handing out a medal to one of my players (she happens to be my daughter!)."

- Craig Leverington, Hawkwell Athletic, Essex, England

"Having recently bought Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds I would like to say how helpful I find it in making training easier to structure and get things across to my under 7 team.

I find I have more control of the session because the players easily understand what they are asked to do because it is more on their level and they find it enjoyable while I am getting an improvement in their skill levels and concentration levels bringing improvement and enjoyment for both the players and myself.

Having not coached children this young before I have found this book a great help and would recommend it to all coaches of young teams."

- Kevin Jenkins, Parkway Eagles, Peterborough, UK

"Fun Soccer Games for 5-8 Year Olds is an excellent aid for harassed and/or conscientious coaches.

The games we've tried at our football school in Mexico have been greatly appreciated by our athletes (Chain Gang was especially popular). The manual is clearly structured, its index helpful in narrowing down choices, and the game descriptions and illustrations very easy to follow. Many of the games are also easily adaptable to smaller groups of children (e.g. racing against the clock vs. competing)."

- Raúl Escalante, Idea Futbol, Mexico

More About Me. And Why I am Qualified To Give You Advice

I have a wealth of experience in men and women’s and youth soccer and hold an array of coaching qualifications.

I am heavily involved in English football as Surrey County Football Association Head Coach, a role in which I am responsible for the education of coaches taking the UEFA B License within the county.

I recently moved to Estonia as Technical Director of Women's and Girl's Football and coached the women's national team to victory in the Baltic Cup in April 2009.


Technical Director Women’s and Girls’ Football - Estonian Football


Assistant Director of Coaching - The David Beckham Academy


Coach Education Co-ordinator - South Bank University


Lead Tutor/Mentor Generic Tutor Training - The F.A


Coaching Co-ordinator - London Leisure College


Director U.E.F.A. ‘B’ Level 3 Licence Courses – Surrey F.A.


Tutor U.E.F.A. ‘B’ Licence Course – P.F.A


Director Women’s Football Academy South East


Director U.E.F.A ‘B’ Level 2 Cert. Courses - Charlton Ath. CARE Partnership


Coaching Co-ordinator Reg.Co. Shaping Soccer’s Future


F.A. County Coaching Representative – Surrey F.A.


Director F.A.Centre of Excellence for Girls – Charlton F.C.


Director F.A. Centre of Excellence for Boys – Margate F.C.


Director U.E.F.A ‘B’ Level 2 Certificate Courses – Surrey F.A.


Director Preliminary Courses – Kent F.A.


Director Preliminary Courses – Surrey F.A.


Skills & Awards for MENCAP


Director Leaders and Junior Team Managers Courses - Kent and Surrey F.A.



Member Institute for Learning


SAQ Prelim award certificate


Lead Tutor/Mentor - The F.A.


F.A. Coach Educators Diploma


City & Guilds ITT 7303 Stage1


F.A. / NSPCC Accredited Child Protection Tutor


Surrey F.A. Sports Massage Course


F.A. Basic Treatment & Management of Injury


First Aid at Work Certificate


F.A. Coach Educators Licence


N.C.F. Child Protection Certificate


U.E.F.A. ‘A’ Licence


F.A. Coach Educator Certificate


F.A. Advanced Coaching Licence


F.A. Preliminary Coaching Award


Senior Member - Football Association Coach Association


Full Member National Coaching Foundation


Member - Surrey F.A. Coaches Association (Hon Vice President)


Member - London F.A. Coaches Association


Member - Kent F.A. Coaches Association



Estonia Women’s National Team


English Colleges National Girl’s Representative Side


Millwall Lionesses F.C 1st Team


Charlton Athletic Women’s F.C 1st Team


Can't I just get these games for free on the internet?

In short, no.

The internet is a great tool for coaches but with so few barriers to posting information there's no guarantee of the quality.

Often it is impossible to tell who designed the drills and games you see, let alone judge how qualified they are as a coach.

The games in Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds are tried, tested and proven to deliver to the specific needs of this important age group.

Information on the internet can be quite dated. Without doing time consuming research you may not be able to tell if the game you are looking at is in line with the latest directions from governing bodies such as the English Football Association and the United States Football Federation.

Only Available From Better Football Coaching

Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds is only available from Better Football Coaching, so order now and give your young players the best possible start to their soccer experience.

Yours in soccer,


Keith Boanas


Order Your Copy Here

P.S. You can get your copy of Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds for just £12 so the cost works out at an incredible 48p per game! Unbeatable value by anyone's standards.

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