1. Understand the rules of soccer
You may watch, play or have an interest in soccer but do you know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of it all? The first step, before organizing your own pick-up game, would be to ensure that you are aware of all the rules of the game. This includes:
How long each match is: typically - two 45-minute halves, maybe extra time (depending on referee or person in charge).
How many players: since it is a pickup game, you can be more lenient on this depending on how many people show. Just make sure it is not overcrowded or too few players.
Fouls or misconduct rules (ex. Kicking an opponent): make sure you have knowledge of all the penalties involved with playing soccer. You do not want to end up with disputes during your game!
It may even be beneficial to establish a basic conduct of behaviours to avoid any arguments or poor attitudes.
2. Be ready for your players
Be prepared and open minded – you may not have met some of these people before! Make sure that everyone is respected, introduced, and comfortable to begin playing. It is important that there are enough players to play the game. If people begin cancelling last minute, make an informed decision on if a game is still possible. If there are too many players showing up, maybe shorten the games or do rolling substitutions.
Remember to keep your players updated all times to maintain healthy communication and overall satisfaction.
3. The other players involved
It is helpful to have someone designated to be the referee. That way, there is someone to make a final call and avoid arguments. It would also be helpful to have a scorekeeper to monitor the game and display the winnings.
It is not necessary to hire people for this (referee’s can be expensive!) For a pick-up game, you can easily designate a few people to take on this responsibility.
4. Distinguishing the two teams
There needs to be a way to distinguish your two opposing teams. If you can get two different coloured pinnies – problem solved! If not, try creating your teams before hand and asking each team to wear a specific colour. That way, there is no confusion on the field. Black shirts vs coloured shirts usually works well.
5. Where to play?
Don’t leave this to the last minute! The hardest part of organizing a pick-up game is finding a place to play. You can find many fields – indoor and outdoor – to host your game! We recommend going through the‘City of Toronto's’ (or wherever you from) website and checking their available fields: https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/sports-fields/index.html
All you require are nets and a ball! Your sports field should come with two nets already. If you choose to play on an open field with no nets, make your own! You must have done it as a child. Get four large objects (trash cans, chairs, even bags) and mark the net areas.
Now just get a good, pumped ball for your players and you’re ready to go! You’ve got your very own soccer pick-up game.
7. Post your pick-up game on the soccer pick-up group