Zone Soccer

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise playing a modified game of soccer while moving within designated zones.


  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • 1 soccer ball per game
  • 2 nets per game
  • Pinnies for 1 group per game
  • Pylons to mark the field


Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe traction. Clearly outline the boundaries for the activity and set a safe distance from walls and obstacles.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide participants into four equal groups. Two groups play in each game.
  • For each game, participants divide the field into enough zones to accommodate one participant from each group for a total of two players in each zone.
  • Pylons, or an alternative, can be used to mark zones.

Activity Instructions

  • Participants play a modified version of soccer where they are required to stay within their zones.
  • Participants work with their group members in other zones to advance the ball down the field to score on their opponent’s net.
  • After a group has scored a goal, or after a designated time, participants and opponents rotate to the next zone in opposite directions, so that participants are not always defending the same opponents or the same area of the field. One group will rotate one zone to the left, while the other group rotates one zone to the right.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during this activity. Examples include: When playing offense, how do you keep possession of the soccer ball in this game, when you are only allowed to move within a designated zone? When playing defence, what strategy can you apply to successfully intercept the soccer ball to regain possession?


To maximize the challenge and the fun, participants could identify their own ways to increase or decrease the challenge.

To decrease the challenge, participants could:

  • Decrease the number of zones, and create larger zones.
  • Use several balls to maximize participation.
  • Begin with rolling the ball so that participants get used to the structure of the game and then progress to throwing before moving to kicking.
  • Choose the object they want to send (e.g., rubber chicken, soft-skinned ball).

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Increase the number of zones, and create smaller zones.
  • Use their non-dominant foot.
  • Use an implement to send the ball (e.g., hockey stick, tennis racquet).

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Locomotion and relationship: travelling around a designated zone with other participants, while trying to invade the opponent’s territory to score on the opponent’s net
  • Manipulation skills and effort awareness: applying a controlled force to send/receive the soccer ball to/from another participant and/or to a net

Movement Strategies

  • Creating and applying tactics to invade the other participants’ territory and to defend your territory (e.g., passing the ball across different zones quickly; moving to open spaces without the ball)

Living Skills

Interpersonal Skills

  • Working collaboratively with participants to invade the other group’s territory and/or to prevent the other group from invading your own territory, while being restricted in a designated zone
  • Demonstrating group work by working collaboratively to gain possession of the ball and to score points, and/or to prevent the opponent from invading your territory and scoring points