Thank you to all the high school coaches that submitted their ideas for incorporating FUN into the high school season!


Midway through the season, we break up the team into four small groups and play a variety of competitions: relay race brain teasers, blind minesweeper, tie balloons around our ankles and let one to have balloon with air wins, etc. We also have a costumed kick ball game prior to the postseason. The team looks forward to both every season.

David Allen – Ankeny Centennial High School, Iowa

We do team pasta dinners, sleepovers with a scavenger hunt and teams dress in themed costumes, reward players of the games with Ram hats to be worn at school the next day, Coaches take the seniors out to breakfast and the zoo towards the end of the season, We have a compliment day practice where the entire practice is spent complimenting each other in a 1 on 1 setting for about 1 minute each (kind of like speed dating)…my girls LOVE this practice!

Dave – Aronberg, Ladue High School, Mo.


We often times compete and rewards are given such as outings to watch the dash which is the pro girls soccer team, we compete with clean sheets and I purchase food for them once they achieve it. We also compete with alumni vs current players and coaches vs players as well.

Bruno Baltazar – Cypress Ridge, Texas


After an especially draining match, we’ll play soccer tennis in our next training. We don’t have tennis courts at the school so we play on the field with makeshift “nets” by using “cone zones”. This always livens the mood and has players smiling and laughing.

Paul Barker – Valley Christian, Ariz.


Multiple 4v4 Dutch tournaments throughout season. Wild card draw for teams. Team nights out at local mini golf/go cart locations. Fitness days at fit cycle, or recovery yoga Team meals with different themes.

Ryan Beier – O’Gorman High School, S.D.


Right before every season starts we go to a different Futgolf course and have some team building while still working on some technical skills.

Brian Casey – Oshkosh North High School, Wis.


#1- Soccer Tennis, “Queens of the Court” ladder format 2- Team breakfast together, home “rivalry” games 3- “Flying Changes” two teams game (*Team’s absolute favorite game!)

Steven Chapman – Deep Run, Va.


We are a spring season so we will throw in a 4v4 tournament one practice with the winners get pizza and ice cream. You would think they were playing for a championship. The games are fun and very competitive with lots of creativity and touches on the ball.

Samuel M “Bunky” Colvin – McIntosh High, Ga.


In the past we have gone to the local university and done their rock climbing wall and Ropes course. We go out for breakfasts before big games. We play barefoot soccer and have water balloon fights. We play tag and have a local teacher come in and do improv with the teams. We have had Wii dance competitions and team meals at the coaches house.

Kyle Congleton – Wilson Memorial High School, Va.

When the other team is playing, V during JC or vice versa, we all pick one player we think will score the first goal. No player can be chosen twice and winner gets a goofy prize. The celebration of that goal, especially if it’s an unlikely suspect, can be over the top!

David Cope – Battle Mountain High School, Colo.


Sharks and minnows.

Tom Cranmer – Joliet Catholic Academy, Ill.


Throughout the season we have several activities to create a fun, light-hearted environment for our boys. We begin with a coaches/ captains meeting over breakfast, where we discuss all things high school soccer. We plan team bonding activities such as futgolf and swim parties. At the end of each training we have a crossbar challenge from the 30 yd line (anyone successful wins a chicken dinner). Because there is so much soccer on TV, we like to gather and watch games as a team. Finally, we have post game tailgate parties for our playoff run.

Martin Davis – Norton High School, Ohio


We have an activity we do that’s a team building activity the players really enjoy. The activity is called “Vision of the Perfect Season”. We divide the players into groups of 4 or 5, trying to keep the members of each group in similar grades or ability (the reason later). Each group is given a sheet of poster board and a pack of various color markers. We explain that we are looking for them to put on the poster board things they’d like to see happen during the season (their “vision of the perfect season”). It can be results, conduct of the team, things we do….anything related to the team and season. The catch is they can’t use any words….they can only draw their “vision”. They can use numbers or a single letter, but no words or abbreviations. We give them 20-30 minutes to put it together. When finished, each group presents their artwork to the rest of the team, who attempt to guess what they are trying to portray. The girls are usually quite creative with their ideas and some of the artistic ability is both impressively good and bad enough to draw some good laughs. The reason we group them together is the younger/JV players will tend to have a higher emphasis on togetherness, unity and fun, while the older/varsity players tend to focus more or results, specific opponents (with some really poorly drawn mascots of opposing schools)as well as the common theme of unity. This creates some variety in the posters and it allows them to see the variety of goals and objectives their teammates have. We’ve had teams hang them in the team room during the season, display them at our end-of-year banquet and often make reference to them during the season. So while it’s a one hour activity (we usually do it during pre-season), it’s something that stays with the team throughout the season.

Mike Freed – Upper Perkiomen High School, Pa.


1. Soccer Olympics during preseason 2. Travel to Cincinnati for a professional soccer game 3. Team Campout during preseason 4. Team pickleball tournaments 5. Serve and volunteer within our school and community.

Steve Fugmann – Lexington Christian Academy, Ky.


Scavenger Hunts & Team Dinners with games at teammates’ homes.

J.P. Graham – Cedar Rapids Washington High School, Iowa


Soccer tennis and anything that ends practice with a fun game. If practice or a game ends with a smile, then the fun we had was worth it!

Seong Ha – Glenbrook North High School, Ill.

We like to play small competition games. My players love rugby, and any completion game.

Ricardo Hernandez – North Henderson High, NC


We play a soccer tennis tournament a few times during the season as a chance to mix it up from the traditional practices, be competitive and get a little bit of a technical workout in. It’s good for team building as they need to work with a partner as we play 2v2.

Robby Hill – Hopkins High School, Minn.


We win Championships!

Martin Jacobson – Martin Luther King HS, N.Y


Take them to a professional soccer match (boys Season), or a professional Hockey game (girls season). I have taken my teams sometimes to play Paintball.

Doug Kidd – Swansboro High School, N.C.


Fun is a core value at North Reading High School…Before the season all incoming freshman are assigned upperclass mentors and they plan three social events over the summer that includes – mini golf, ice cream and a bbq. During preseason we set sessions for a scavenger hunt , olympics, and talent show. Although we compete and train to improve everyday, fun is something we never lose focus on. Thanks for raffle that table would be a blast!

Sean Killeen – North Reading High School, Mass.


Every practice plan I design I try my best to incorporate a fun game whether it is freeze tag, handball, various races or relays because I want the boys to know that every session my intention is to have fun and make practice enjoyable. Outside of practices, we’ve done team dinners and movie nights as well as FIFA tournaments or we will watch matches during the summer especially if a men or women’s World Cup is on. At the beginning of each of the seasons I have coached, we have an exhibition match with Regis Jesuit High School and do a barbecue between the two communities. And, at the end of the season, our banquet includes a potluck style dinner which includes some of the best home-cooked food you can have in one sitting! Throughout the season, my staff and I do our best to try to think of ways we can incorporate fun, community, and support of others.

Mark Ladd – Arrupe Jesuit High School, Colo.


I am trying constantly to find new fun games to do so that the girls have fun together. We play volley soccer with low volleyball nets and have tournaments. We match up with the softball team and play kickball. We also play a little crab soccer.

Lisa Levermann – C E Byrd High School, La.


Team trips to the beach or arcade.

Leo Marianiello – Conrad Schools of Science, Del.


One year my girls team made snowmen during a practice with a late winter snowfall. Often my boys and girls teams will have team bonding parties at players homes with yard games and food. Preseason team bonding party at school. One year I hosted a cake decorating competition for my girls team.

Mark Nolte – Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School, Wis.


Soccer Golf, Bowling, Ropes Course.

Brent Ostrander – Brent Ostrander, N.Y.


We are the Wolfpack so we create groups within our program called MiniPacks. Each minipack is lead by a few seniors and has girls from each grade level. Throughout the season we meet in our minipacks for a variety of things including photo scavenger hunts, one-minute challenges and heart-to-heart talks. It creates a sense of family within our program.

Stacy Paleen – Park High School, Minn.


We have team dinners every week. We play ultimate frisbee and we play basketball because most of the boys are terrible at it which creates a lot of laughs. We enjoy mini inter squad tournaments and competitions. We also love great music in the locker room while juggling. Team culture is really important so we keep things light and enjoy being together to develop off the field relationships. Would love to add a table for the locker room or for part of our training sessions as a competition or reward!

David Penny – Lassiter High School, Ga.


Soccer tennis, team dinners, etc.

Stephen Peter – Friendswood HS, Texas


Soccer tennis, soccer baseball, lots of World Cup, non-soccer activities like bowling, Xbox one FIFA, hanging out and sharing a meal.

Chris Pratt – Harrison High School, Ark.


Every Friday during the first segment of training we hold “Family Friday” which are fun activities designed to create connections between the three teams in our program (freshman, jv and varsity) as well as the four grades. We might play kickball, wiffleball, soccer tennis, team handball or have fun relay races with balloons or oversized yoga balls. The players enjoy having new teammates and laughing and joking during these relaxed competitions.

Eric Puma – Hillsborough High School, N.J.


We play different kinds of kinds of games requiring agility or ball skills: Tic – Tac – Toe with bibs Bucket Ball challenge Head to Head Reaction drill with different colored cones Header competition Agility challenge with ball then finish on goal.

Ben Reiber – West York Area High School, Pa.


As president of our coaches association I am proud to say that this year our association may reach the $1 Million Mark of fundraising for Cancer Organizations. I have created a website for our organization so you can check it out there. – So not only do we have fun we raise money for great causes. We try to have a Faculty v Soccer Team Game, We also hold a “World Cup Tournament” with partners of 2 in which each team MUST dress up like there chosen country. So we will have teams with painted faces, even costumes and flag wearing “super capes” and much much more. And the obvious weekly pasta parties to name just a simple few things we do to not only create a Nationally Ranked Girls Program, but one that can do it the right by developing as individuals and as a team each day while truly enjoying the game, one another and fun team activities.

Mike Reilly – Islip High School, N.Y.


We ended our practice sessions with some fun related team building exercises with our favorites being human dragon and when a holiday fell around our practice we would form a holiday themed icon with soccer balls and then with players (example: St. Patrick’s Day, we formed a shamrock using soccer balls and then with players). When bad weather forces us inside we always have soccer tennis tournaments and those are always full of constant animated talking/cheering and laughter.

Michael Robey – Arthur Christian School, Ill.


Many options, but here are a few: – “Garlic Football” (not to be confused with the more athletically formal Gaelic football): two teams (8v8, 9v9, etc.), similar to team handball (two steps max carrying the ball), advance the ball via a bump (like an underhanded volleyball serve), soccer throw-in, or a volley (drop to foot and pass to teammate); if ball drops, then turnover to other team; if ball goes over endline, then restart with goal kick or corner kick; score off of a header or double volley only; field approx 44 by 50; though using hands a lot, there are many teachable points from the game – off-season divide teams in half and create 4v 4 tournament, add incentives besides team victory (goals, assists, shutout, 1v1 take-on, etc.); winning team gets served a meal by the losing team at the end (cumulative point total) – 2 up/1 down (two teams- two balls advance similar to “Garlic Football” above and they try to hit the other team’s ball; other team has one ball down on the ground maintain possession as normal with feet, max two touch; switch and keep scores as appropriate for level – “pinnie tag” 2s/1 ball pass and move; one duo holds pinnie between them and tries to tag any player without a ball (if a player has a ball then they are “safe”); if a player gets tagged, then that player and their partner are “it”. Ashu Saxena – Durham Academy, NC Every year we surprise the team with an “Amazing Race” practice. We have envelopes (logo and all!) with riddles that guide them to challenges all over the park. For example: at the tennis courts they shoot balls at cups stuck into the fence in the shape of a big “T” for Trinity until they knock them all out. At the basketball court they have to juggle a ball into the hoop with a header. We play the music and give medals to the winning team. We do an annual barefoot practice, where the cleats and shin pads come off and we play on a u10 field barefoot in the grass. We keep changing the ball, from giant playground balls to Nerf footballs to miniballs. We play human foosball, where groups of 2-3 players line up in several zones across the field; they can’t leave their zone and must stay linked in a line by pinnies they hold to connect them. We kick off the season with the “Superior Scrimmages.” A 3-day team trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior for two scrimmages, plus beach soccer, movie night, team hike, feeding French fries to the gulls, giving up our troubles to the lake, releasing sky lanterns over the lake. We all stay together in my cabin right on the lake, the girls throwing their sleeping bags all over the great room. The final night of the final trip, the seniors all sleep outside under the stars on the beach, the “Senior Sleepout.” One hour per week the team heads to the tennis courts and plays Street Soccer with small-sided teams, futbol de salao balls, Puggs, a custom playlist, and no coaching.

John Seipp – Trinity School at River Ridge, Minn.


We try and connect with other sports from our school to practice with them. We will have a volleyball tourney or kickball game when we need to break things up.

Ken Smith – Wausau East High School, Wis.


We try to do a variety of different things throughout the season. Such as playing tick tac toe for warmups or playing railroad tracks with a tunnel to pass the soccer ball through. We also try to play tag games to warm up and to play kick ball at different times.

Brian Steuter – Minn.


Here’s a few things we do for fun on and off the field: – handball – ultimate frisbee – world cup – cheer competition – team meals – team bonding/watch parties – jogging to the local icee shop – play soccer!

Adam Subasic – Bryan High School, Ohio


Soccer Kickball… -use pop-up goals for bases – must use soccer skills to get the ball to the “base” to get an out Skill Relay Races Soccer Tennis Soccer Volleyball.

Dhana Tulloch-Reid, CREC-Academy of International Studies, Conn.


We have very intentional “soft start” to our training sessions. Even after the official start time (typically 4:00 p.m.), we allow the players to interact and socialize freely during warm up. The players have come to appreciate this informal opportunity to connect, banter, and just have a bit of loose fun prior to the more focused, more intense training that follows.

David Villano – Ransom Everglades School, Fla.


PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES – My Varsity Boys Soccer team play multiple variations of Soccer Tennis, Soccer Volleyball and Soccer Cricket (originally from England I have even organized a real cricket game for our boys to play for a complete “change of scene” which they loved playing). I have also set up a “Street Soccer” style tournament within which all players score points as individuals but still compete as members of (small sided) teams. They play with and against different players in each round of play and the outcome of each game determines the number of points they accrue individually! I also periodically create and devise “soccer obstacle courses” for our boys to enjoy in teams and challenge the players to create their own obstacle courses too. CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES – I have organized fun soccer quizzes for the boys as well as sessions based on specific soccer related themes – for example and most recently, a multi disciplinary session on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Players were asked to answer questions relating to each of the 32 qualifying nations and then to identify those nations on a map of the World. Other recent sessions have included the Greatest Soccer teams in History (club and International) and the Greatest Rivalries in World Soccer. TEAM BONDING ACTIVITIES – With a Sports Psychology Background, I am a huge proponent of these activities to promote and build team chemistry. In recent seasons, our team has participated in Broomball (Soccer on an Ice Rink), a Jungle Gym Ropes Course, an Orienteering (Scavenger Hunt) activity where players solve clues in teams and move to the next marker scoring points along the way, a (Community Service) visit to an Animal Shelter to assist with preparing abandoned dogs for adoption and mid and end of season team dinners (including a team Christmas gift exchange). Next season, I’m hoping for our Varsity Boys to participate in a Mud Run Adventure Race together. OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES – Our annual Alumni game always attracts 40 – 50 alums and is a tremendously fun event for all concerned. We’ve even had dad’s playing with and against their sons, all family members having played soccer at and graduated from Country Day!

At the start of each season, the boys complete a “Player Profile Sheet” I give them. The sheet asks them their favorite quote, book, movie, restaurant, sports team, school subject etc. It asks them their three ideal dinner companions (past or present) and if they were a superhero who they would be and why. There are other questions they answer and after returning their completed sheets to me I randomly choose two sheets each week and present the responses on those sheets to the TEAM. All team members then have to guess the name of the player(s) who completed those sheets. These are just some of the fun activities I do with the players. We have an extremely well structured and educational program and curriculum where the technical, tactical, physical and psychological components of the game are concerned, but we always want our players to enjoy their soccer experience and have tremendous FUN too!

Mike, Vincent – Fort Worth Country Day School, Texas


In the past we have done tennis soccer tournaments during preseason. In season we have done handball games, team meals and senior night pot lucks. This year we are looking to add in a soccer golf tournament during our two a days, a team trip and potentially adding a youth night.

Jonathan Walsh – Valley Central High School, N.Y.


All of our preseason fitness tests have been turned into a competition and we call it Soccer-lympics. They enjoy the competition On fridays in preseason we do a 3v3 ‘league’ During the season we have one day a week where they wear blue outfits to practice. Our school is green and gold but the blue represents the ‘blue map’ indicative of a state championship. They really enjoy trying to outdo each other with their outfit On rainy days we go to my classroom and one at a time sing a song for the team. Some of the guys are good. Some just funny. They argue over which one gets to do which song.

Joe Webb – Mountain Brook High School, Ala.


We usually do a scavenger hunt at the beginning of the year to create an atmosphere for team bonding. I also try to do small things at the end of practice or during recovery days to engage the kids to move but also have fun during those days. For example, we play a horse shoe’s game or like a form of cross bar challenge during those days to keep them engaged and it creates an atmosphere for our team to succeed in the long run.

Austin White – International Leadership of Texas Garland HS, Texas


Egg Toss at the end of training early in the season and then we go to a team breakfast. I buy the winning team breakfast. Team Picnic at a local park. Team rides their bikes, rollerblade, etc for a team workout while my wife and I with some team parents grill. Athletes play yard games(ladder ball, spike ball) as well. Every year team states these are a must so it’s become a tradition! Great memories every year!

Nathan Williams – Anchor Bay High School, Mich.


We organize and play a dutch tournament that will get each of our players to play with pretty much every other player. Teams change, opponents change, but the competition stays high and we all try to knock the top point earner down. By the end of the sessions the players are all exhausted but they are all smiling and enjoying the company of the team. This has given us a great sense of “family” throughout the years. We also do other things like alumni small games and scrimmages during the summers. We also include family members and community. Every summer I have many people asking when we are going to start up the games again. Side-note, throughout the 12+ years of doing this I have NEVER had anything close to a physical confrontation or even a verbal one. As a coach and father of three soccer players, it has been great to be able to play with and against my kids as well as my coworkers and administration.

Brett Wubbena – Logan-Rogersville High School, Mo.


We have an annual footgolf outing/tournament. We go on team bike rides. We play team FIFA Tournaments at different players’ houses.

Kevin Zerbey – Rocky River High School, Ohio