back to top

The 19 Rules Of Playing Football When You're A Kid

From 'rush keeper' to Wembley doubles. Because 'jumpers for goalposts' is only the start of it...

Posted on

1. Setting up the goal.

1. PostsCan be made of anything, preferably clothing or school bags. When the ball comes into contact with the post, a consensus must be reached on whether it was a goal, wide or 'in off' [the post].2. Cross bar The exact height varies from goal to goal, decided on a case by case basis. Whether the goalie could have conceivably reached the shot is a useful guideline.
Via blogger.com

1. Posts

Can be made of anything, preferably clothing or school bags. When the ball comes into contact with the post, a consensus must be reached on whether it was a goal, wide or 'in off' [the post].

2. Cross bar

The exact height varies from goal to goal, decided on a case by case basis. Whether the goalie could have conceivably reached the shot is a useful guideline.

2. Picking teams.

There are two common methods for picking the sides.1. CaptainsThe owner of the ball and the best player take turns picking until the worst player is left (feeling a bit like they want to cry).2. Picking numbersOne player to turn their back while the others are allocated numbers which are then used to randomly* assign teams.*cheating via coughs, nods or hidden hand gestures is rife in the game.
Via stilettosoncobblestonestreets.blogspot.co.uk

There are two common methods for picking the sides.

1. Captains

The owner of the ball and the best player take turns picking until the worst player is left (feeling a bit like they want to cry).

2. Picking numbers

One player to turn their back while the others are allocated numbers which are then used to randomly* assign teams.

*cheating via coughs, nods or hidden hand gestures is rife in the game.

3. Who you're going to 'be'.

Each player must pick a professional to channel for the course of the game.
Via whoateallthepies.tv

Each player must pick a professional to channel for the course of the game.

4. New ball rule.

A new ball cannot be played - or even bounced - on concrete for a minimum of two weeks when first purchased (to hold off this happening for as long as possible).
Via Flickr: beefy_n1

A new ball cannot be played - or even bounced - on concrete for a minimum of two weeks when first purchased (to hold off this happening for as long as possible).

5. Commentary.

Any player is entitled to give a running commentary on their own performance, usually when on a solo dribble. E.g. He takes on one, he takes on two, he shoots! - Ooooooh, it's just wide!
Via http://Getty

Any player is entitled to give a running commentary on their own performance, usually when on a solo dribble. E.g. He takes on one, he takes on two, he shoots! - Ooooooh, it's just wide!

6. Wembley Singles / Doubles

When there are not enough players to make up two teams, individuals or pairs play against each other shooting at one goal. As always, the worst player goes in nets.Scottish footballer Alex James, Wembley, 1932, Getty

When there are not enough players to make up two teams, individuals or pairs play against each other shooting at one goal. As always, the worst player goes in nets.

Scottish footballer Alex James, Wembley, 1932, Getty

7. Headers and Volleys.

A game of advanced technique that involves keeping the ball within set parameters using only a header or a volley (one player at a time). Rules can be softened to allow half-volleys.
Via Flickr: labyrinthx-2

A game of advanced technique that involves keeping the ball within set parameters using only a header or a volley (one player at a time). Rules can be softened to allow half-volleys.

8. Spot / Donkey / other

Subject to regional varieties, each player is given a letter as a penalty for failing in the aims of game (often involving hitting a specific tree or wall). Once 'donkey' (e.g.) has been reached, that player is out (and a donkey).
Via Flickr: wickedboy007

Subject to regional varieties, each player is given a letter as a penalty for failing in the aims of game (often involving hitting a specific tree or wall).

Once 'donkey' (e.g.) has been reached, that player is out (and a donkey).

9. Rush keeper / First man back.

When everyone refuses to play in nets, there are two options. 1. Rush keeperEnables goalies to switch temporarily to an outfield position during the match, including going on solo runs and scoring goals. 2. First man backDictates that any outfield play can become the goalkeeper, depending on who gets back to the goal first when defending an attack.
Via Flickr: damongman

When everyone refuses to play in nets, there are two options.

1. Rush keeper

Enables goalies to switch temporarily to an outfield position during the match, including going on solo runs and scoring goals.

2. First man back

Dictates that any outfield play can become the goalkeeper, depending on who gets back to the goal first when defending an attack.

10. No goal mooching / blasting.

Further safe guards for nervous 'keepers can be enforced.1. No mooching / poachingA crude variation of the offside rule, this is to prevent lazy players or 'glory hunters' from hanging around the opposition goal waiting for a Lineker-style tap in.2. No blastingThis rule prevents anyone from kicking the ball with excessive force within a few feet of the goalmouth.
Via Flickr: tierecke

Further safe guards for nervous 'keepers can be enforced.

1. No mooching / poaching

A crude variation of the offside rule, this is to prevent lazy players or 'glory hunters' from hanging around the opposition goal waiting for a Lineker-style tap in.

2. No blasting

This rule prevents anyone from kicking the ball with excessive force within a few feet of the goalmouth.

11. Play on.

A free pass to continue playing even when the ball's been kicked out, usually evoked by goalkeepers who can't be bothered to retrieve the ball.
Via yatetownfc.com

A free pass to continue playing even when the ball's been kicked out, usually evoked by goalkeepers who can't be bothered to retrieve the ball.

12. Break in play.

The game is only paused when the ball is accidentally kicked into a garden or under a car.
Via images.fineartamerica.com

The game is only paused when the ball is accidentally kicked into a garden or under a car.

13. Getting the ball back.

If the ball does accidentally go into a stranger's garden, asking for it back requires two players - the one who kicked it over in the first place and a loyal friend.
Via Flickr: wordridden

If the ball does accidentally go into a stranger's garden, asking for it back requires two players - the one who kicked it over in the first place and a loyal friend.

14. Communication.

In a fast-paced game, abbreviated instructions are essential.
Via upload.wikimedia.org

In a fast-paced game, abbreviated instructions are essential.

15.

'Next goal the winner' means the next team to score wins, and is almost always evoked at the end of a game by the side losing 9-2.
Via Flickr: 39171006@N07

'Next goal the winner' means the next team to score wins, and is almost always evoked at the end of a game by the side losing 9-2.

16. If a randomer asks to play...

17. Alternative balls.

Tennis balls, basket balls and empty cans or bottles are acceptable alternatives when a proper football is not available.
Via Flickr: kenjonbro

Tennis balls, basket balls and empty cans or bottles are acceptable alternatives when a proper football is not available.

18. End of match.

The game only ends when either:1. It's too dark to see2. Everyone is too tired to continue, or3. The owner of the ball gets upset and goes home.
Via greenprophet.com

The game only ends when either:

1. It's too dark to see

2. Everyone is too tired to continue, or

3. The owner of the ball gets upset and goes home.

19. No ref.

No referee - or other adult - is required to enforce the above rules. After all, you're all mates, no matter what the final score.
Via mobypicture.com

No referee - or other adult - is required to enforce the above rules. After all, you're all mates, no matter what the final score.