Soccer Tryout Drills | 2023

Soccer tryouts can be difficult to run and organize, you will likely have a large number of players and it is your job to ensure that you are able to pick the best players. The best soccer tryout drills are the ones that are, easy to set up, explain, and involve as much time playing as possible. The soccer tryout drills should also cover various skills that a soccer player will need.

The best soccer tryout drills

These are the soccer tryout drills I like to use for my soccer teams!

Gate game

2 soccer players playing the gate game at their soccer tryout

Set up:

  • 15 x 20-yard area
  • 6 gates (2 cones per gate)
  • 1 soccer ball per pair

How the drill works:

The players will get into pairs with one player acting at the attacker and the other as the defender.

The player with the ball has to try and dribble through as many gates as possible with the defender shadowing them and blocking the gates.

At the end of the round, the players will swap roles.

The winning player will be the player that has dribbled through the most gates.

Soccer skills that are being assessed

  • Dribbling skills
  • Awareness
  • Balance on the ball
  • Changes in pace and direction

Basic passing rotation

passing rotation for a soccer tryout

Set up:

  • 2 cones 10 yards apart
  • 3 players
  • 1 soccer ball per group

How the drill works:

One player will stand behind a cone and the other 2 players will stand on the opposite cone with a soccer ball.

The player with the ball will play a combination pass with the player opposite them and then take their place behind the cone.

The process will then be repeated.

To make this more competitive, you challenge the groups to get as many passes as possible within 60 seconds.

The group that completes the most passes will be the winning group.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Passing technique
  • First touch
  • Using both feet
  • Communication

2v2 defending

2v2 defending drill for a tryout

Set up:

  • 3 goals
  • 6 defenders, 6 attackers
  • 3 soccer balls
  • 10 x 15-yard area

How the drill works:

The defenders will start with the ball and pass the ball to the attackers, this will start the 2v2.

The attackers will have to try and score the main goal for 1 point.

If the defenders can force the opposition attackers out o bounds, they will get 1 point; if they can score in either of the opposite 2 goals, then they will get 3 points.

When the ball goes out of bounds or if a goal is scored then the next 2 defenders and attackers will rotate it.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Communication
  • Defending 1v1
  • Defending as a pair (knowing when to press/cover)
  • Reading of the game
  • How quickly the player transitions from defense to attack.

1v1 soccer ladder

6 soccer players playing the 1v1 soccer ladder at their soccer tryout

Set up:

  • 1 soccer ball per pair
  • 7 x 10-yard area per 2 players
  • 2 goals per area

How the drill works:

In each area, there will be a continuous 1v1.

When the ball goes out of bounds, the game will restart with a dribble-in.

At the end of the round, the player that has scored the most goals will move up a pitch with the losing player moving down.

If 2 players tie the winner and loser will be decided with rock-paper-scissors.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • 1v1 attacking skills
  • 1v1 defending skills
  • Change of pace and direction
  • Composure under pressure
  • Dribbling using both feet

4v4 possession square

4v4 possession tryout drill

Set up:

  • 15 x 15-yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 2 teams of 4

How the drill works:

The 2 teams will be playing against each other with the main purpose to maintain possession of the ball.

For every 3 passes, a team makes they will get 1 point.

The team that has the most points by the end of the round will be the winner.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Movement off the ball
  • composure on the ball
  • passing and receiving
  • Decision making
  • Communication

2v2 possession game with target players

target player soccer trout drill

Set up:

  • 10 x 15 yard-area
  • 6 players (2 target players)
  • 1 soccer ball

How the drill works:

There will be a 2v2 in the middle with the purpose of the teams working the ball from one target player to another.

The target players will be standing opposite each other on the 10-yard lines.

Every time a team of 2 is able to get the ball from 1 target player to another they will get 1 point.

At the end of the round, the team with the most points will be the winner.

The target players will then rotate into the middle with one of the teams rotating out to become the target players.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Movement off the ball
  • Passing and receiving
  • Communication
  • Confidence on the ball
  • teamwork
  • Work ethic

4v2 rondo

4v2 rondo for a soccer tryout

Set up:

  • 7 x 7-yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 6 players

How the drill works:

For the rondo, there will be 2 defenders in the middle with 4 players on the outside trying to keep possession of the ball.

For every 5 passes the possession players make, they will get 1 point.

If they can make a pass that splits the defenders they will get 3 points.

At the end of the round, the defenders will rotate out with new defenders coming in.

They will then have to try and beat the previous score.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Creating angles to support teammates
  • Communication
  • Passing and recevieing
  • Movement off the ball
  • Pressing
  • Keeping defensive shape

2v2 long ball

long ball tryout drill

Set up:

  • 1 soccer ball
  • 4 players
  • 2 cones 20 yards apart

How the drill works:

One pair will start with the ball and play a long pass to the opposite pair.

One of the players will control the ball and set it for their teammate to pass the ball back.

You can ask the players to vary the types of passes that they use and make the pass using different feet.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Passing ranges
  • Passing technique
  • Ariel control
  • first touch
  • Communication
  • Passing with both feet

3v3 small-sided game

3v3 small sided game for a tryout

Set up:

  • 20 x 25-yard area
  • 2 goals
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 2 teams of 3

How the drill works:

This will be a regular scrimmage to see how the players are in a match realistic scenario.

The 3v3 will allow players more opportunities to showcase their skills as opposed to a larger-sided game.

You can also rotate players in different positions and slightly adjust the rules to see how they adapt to change.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • All aspects of soccer
  • The influence the player can have on a game

3 team possession game

3 team possession game for tryout

Set up:

  • 20 x 30-yard area (divided into 3, 20 x 10-yard sections)
  • 3 teams of 3
  • 1 soccer ball

How the drill works:

In this soccer tryout drill place a team of 3 in each third, with the team in the middle third acting as the defending team.

The 2 teams in the outside thirds must make 4 passes before switching it other to the other side through the middle third.

When a possessing team is trying to make 4 passes the defending team can send in 1 player to try and win the ball back.

The team that gave the ball away will then become the defending team in the middle third.

This includes passing the ball out of bounds.

Soccer skills that are being assessed:

  • Pressing in pairs
  • Movement off the ball
  • Passing and receiving under pressure
  • Communication

Final thoughts

The purpose of the soccer tryout drills is to try and help you quickly and effectively with the skills of players with minimal setup and explanations.

Although it is important to assess the technical, you will want to see the influence a player has in the game.

This is why there are multiple small-sided and possession-based games.

Once, you have your team there are different youth soccer positions to put your players in depending on the age group.

If you are new to coaching youth soccer these are my 12 best youth soccer coaching tips and this is how I plan my soccer sessions.

Making soccer practice fun is essential too, these 10 strategies will help keep your soccer practices fun

If you know a coach who would find these drills helpful then please share them with them.

Thank you for reading and sharing,

Toby

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