Home Sports All you need to know About 3 vs 3 soccer (Overview, Rules, Player roles and Benefits)

All you need to know About 3 vs 3 soccer (Overview, Rules, Player roles and Benefits)

by Abbey

3 vs 3 soccer, also known as small-sided soccer, is a variety of the sport played between two teams, with each team having only three players on the field at a time. This style of soccer is considered a small-sided game, as compared to full-sided games with larger teams. The field used in 3 vs 3 soccer is smaller than a regulation soccer pitch, typically measuring 30 yards wide by 40 yards long or 55 by 95 feet for ages U12 and higher. The game also utilizes a smaller goal compared to full-sided soccer.


3-goal-3v3-1 / Image source: d3rqy6w6tyyf68.cloudfront.net

Source: d3rqy6w6tyyf68.cloudfront.net

Overview of 3 vs 3 soccer

Known for its fast-paced and high-scoring gameplay. The smaller number of players on the field allows each player to have more opportunities to touch the ball, improving their skills and decision-making abilities. The quick transition from one end of the field to the other after a goal is scored or upon loss of possession adds to the dynamic nature of the game.

One of the key factors contributing to the popularity of 3 vs 3 soccer is the emphasis on equal playing time and equal touches on the ball for every team member. There are no permanently assigned positions, giving each player equal status and importance. This promotes individual skill development and teamwork.



Here are some benefits of playing 3 vs 3 soccer:

  1. Increased number of game-related decision-making opportunities
  2. Constant transition from attacking to defensive situations
  3. Increased 1 vs. 1 encounters in both attacking and defending situations
  4. Increased opportunities to utilize specific ball skills
  5. Increased opportunity to be in a goal-scoring position
  6. Increased opportunities to be in a 2 vs. 1 attacking and defending situation

The growing popularity of 3 vs 3 soccer

It has gained significant popularity worldwide, particularly in the United States. It is claimed to be the fastest-growing form of soccer globally. In the United States, numerous tournaments take place each year, attracting hundreds or even thousands of participants. The sport has also gained traction in many other countries.

Major tours and championships are held in the United States. Some notable ones include Colorado-based tournaments with their World Championships held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida and Utah-based Centers Soccer.

The growing popularity can be attributed to its fast-paced gameplay, increased involvement of all players, and the opportunities it provides for skill development and teamwork.

It offers a thrilling and dynamic gaming experience with its small-sided gameplay and emphasis on individual skills and team collaboration. Its popularity continues to grow, attracting players from around the world who are looking for a fun and engaging soccer experience.

also read: What does Red color means and symbolize in sport?

Rules and Regulations

There are specific rules and regulations that players and teams must abide by. While the official FIFA soccer rules apply to 3 vs 3 soccer, there are some modifications that make it unique. Here are the key rules and regulations to keep in mind:

Official FIFA rules for 3 vs 3 soccer

Games will be played with the official FIFA soccer rules, with some exceptions listed below:

  • Each team must hand in a roster with all player names and their date of birth.
  • A team can roster a maximum of 6 players, with 3 field players and 3 substitutes.
  • Teams can choose to roster less than 6 players, but a minimum of 2 field players is required.
  • Players are not allowed to play on multiple teams in the same age group.
  • Each game consists of 20 minutes straight, with a two-minute halftime.
  • Games tied after regulation play during pool play end in a tie, while tied games during playoffs proceed to 3 penalty kicks per team.
  • Substitutions can be made on the fly.
  • Various rules govern kick-offs, goal kicks, penalty kicks, and dead-ball situations.

Key differences between 3 vs 3 and traditional soccer

While 3 vs 3 soccer follows most of the traditional soccer rules, there are a few key differences:

  • There are no goalkeepers in 3 vs 3 soccer.
  • The game is played without offside rules, allowing for more dynamic gameplay.
  • Slide tackling is not allowed.
  • There are no permanent positions assigned to players, promoting equal participation and skill development.
  • The playing field is smaller, with dimensions of approximately 55 by 95 feet for ages U12 and higher.
  • The goals are smaller, approximately four feet high and six feet wide.
  • The goal box is located directly in front of the goal and is approximately six feet wide and six feet long.
  • There are specific rules regarding ball contact and player positioning within the goal box.

These rules and regulations contribute to the fast-paced and action-packed nature of 3 vs 3 soccer. It offers a unique playing experience that focuses on individual skills, teamwork, and equal participation for all players on the field.

Benefits of 3 vs 3 Soccer

Physical and mental benefits of playing 3 vs 3 soccer

It offers numerous physical and mental benefits for players. In this format, players are engaged in a fast-paced and intense game that requires quick decision-making, teamwork, and agility.

One of the main benefits is its ability to improve players’ cardiovascular endurance and aerobic capacity. With the smaller playing field and fewer players, the game becomes more dynamic, requiring players to constantly move, run, and sprint. This constant activity helps build stamina and endurance.

Additionally, 3 vs 3 soccer helps develop players’ muscle strength and coordination. The fast-paced nature of the game requires players to make quick movements, change directions, and perform skills such as dribbling, shooting, and passing. These actions engage multiple muscle groups, leading to improved strength, balance, and coordination.

Moreover, playing enhances players’ mental skills and cognitive abilities. The limited space and increased number of touches on the ball help players develop better decision-making skills and spatial awareness. Players must constantly assess the situation, anticipate movements, and make split-second decisions, fostering cognitive development and improving their ability to think strategically.

Development of essential soccer skills in a smaller format

In addition to the physical and mental benefits, 3 vs 3 soccer also provides players with an opportunity to improve their fundamental soccer skills in a smaller format.

The smaller playing area and reduced number of players allow for more touches on the ball, encouraging players to improve their ball control, dribbling, and passing skills. With fewer players on the field, players have more space and time to practice these skills, leading to faster skill development.

Furthermore, it enhances players’ ability to understand and execute tactical aspects of the game. The smaller teams force players to constantly communicate, collaborate, and make tactical decisions on the field. This helps players develop a deeper understanding of positioning, movement off the ball, and team strategies.

Additionally, playing can improves players’ speed of play and their ability to read the game. The fast-paced nature of the game requires players to react quickly, make accurate passes, and make effective runs off the ball. These skills are crucial in the larger format of the game and can greatly enhance players’ overall performance.


3vs3-soccer-winners Source: disneydose.com

Source: disneydose.com

3 vs 3 Tournaments and Leagues

The fast-paced and exciting variation of the game is gaining popularity worldwide. With smaller teams and fields, it offers a high-scoring and action-packed experience for players and spectators. In this section, we will explore the different tournaments and leagues that enthusiasts can participate in or follow.

Overview of local and national 3 vs 3 tournaments

There are numerous local and national 3 vs 3 tournaments held throughout the year, providing opportunities for players of all ages and skill levels to showcase their talents. These tournaments typically follow a format where teams compete against each other in short matches. The emphasis is on skill, speed, and teamwork.

Some popular 3 vs 3 tournaments include:

  1. 3v3 Live Soccer Tour: This tour organizes over 190 successful soccer tournaments annually and allows teams to compete against each other in a variety of age groups and divisions. With their emphasis on fair play and competition, 3v3 Live offers a platform for players to experience the thrill of 3 vs 3 soccer.
  2. Louis Scott Gallagher 3 vs 3 Tournament: Hosted by the Louis Scott Gallagher soccer club, this tournament aims to provide an affordable, fun, and competitive experience for participants. It caters to recreational soccer players and offers a chance for players to showcase their skills in a friendly environment.

Prominent 3 vs 3 leagues and organizations

In addition to tournaments, there are also prominent 3 vs 3 leagues and organizations that offer structured gameplay and development opportunities for players. These leagues provide a platform for players to compete regularly and improve their skills.

One such organization is Centers Soccer, based in Utah, which focuses on the development of young players through organized 3 vs 3 league play. They provide a platform for players to hone their skills, and showcase their abilities.

By participating in local tournaments and leagues, players of all ages and skill levels can immerse themselves in the exciting world of the game. It allows them to experience the fast-paced nature of the game, develop their individual skills, and build strong teamwork.

Whether you are a recreational player looking for a fun and social soccer experience or a serious athlete aiming to compete at a higher level, 3 vs 3 soccer offers a unique and thrilling avenue to indulge in the beautiful game.

Strategies and Tactics

When it comes to 3 vs 3 soccer, having effective strategies and tactics can make a significant difference in your team’s performance. Here are some popular strategies and formations that can help you excel on the field:

Effective team strategies and formations for 3 vs 3 soccer

1-1-1 Formation: The most commonly used formation in 3 vs 3 soccer, the 1-1-1 formation allows for a balanced approach. Placing the team’s best player in the middle can provide support both in offensive and defensive plays. The fastest and most aggressive player is usually positioned up front to score goals, while the strongest player anchors the defense as the fullback.

V Formation: This formation involves two players positioned in the front and one player defending, forming a V shape. The V formation often leads to effective goal-scoring opportunities and reduces the risk of counterattacks. However, it requires players who can perform their roles confidently and handle 1v2 or 1v3 situations.

A Formation: The A formation utilizes two defenders and a single attacker. This formation is typically used when a team is in the lead and wants to prioritize defense. It is essential to have a skilled attacker who can handle the opposition’s defense and succeed in 1v2 or 1v3 situations.

Tips for success in 3 vs 3 matches

To enhance your performance keep these tips in mind:

  1. Master your touch: The sport demands excellent individual skills, particularly in touch and ball control. Practice receiving and controlling the ball with confidence to outshine your opponents.
  2. Avoid ball-hogging: Holding onto the ball for too long is not recommended unless you are in a 1v1 situation. Focus on quick passing and utilizing open teammates to create scoring opportunities.
  3. Stay away from shots in the corner: Shooting or crossing the ball from the opponent’s corner often leads to interceptions and potential counterattacks. Instead, look for better passing options to maintain possession and create effective attacks.
  4. Play until the whistle: Never assume a play is over until you hear the whistle. Remember to stay engaged and continue playing, even if a foul is perceived. Being attentive can prevent missed opportunities or defensive lapses.

By implementing these strategies and following the tips, you can elevate your performance and contribute to your team’s success on the field.

Player Positions and Roles

In a game, the number of players is reduced, which means each player has a significant role to play. Here are the different positions and their responsibilities in a 3 vs 3 team:

Roles and responsibilities of players in a 3 vs 3 team

The Forward: The forward’s main responsibility is to score goals. They need to have good shooting skills, be fast, and have the ability to create scoring opportunities.

The Midfielder: The midfielder is the link between defense and offense. They need to have good passing skills, vision, and the ability to control the tempo of the game. Midfielders also play a crucial role in winning back possession and providing support to both the forward and the defender.

The Defender: The defender’s primary responsibility is to prevent the other team from scoring goals. They need to be strong, have good tackling skills, and be able to anticipate the opponent’s moves. Defenders also play a role in building attacks and providing support to the midfielders.

How to maximize the effectiveness of each position

To maximize the effectiveness of each position, here are some tips:

  • Communication: Effective communication among teammates is crucial in a 3 vs 3 game. Players should constantly communicate with each other to coordinate their movements and anticipate the opponent’s actions.
  • Positioning: Players should be aware of their position on the field and adjust their positioning based on the game situation. This includes maintaining proper spacing with teammates and being in the right position to provide support.
  • Teamwork: Teamwork is key to success. Players should work together, combining their strengths and skills to outplay the opponent. This includes making quick passes, creating combination plays, and making use of each player’s strengths.
  • Adaptability: Players should be able to adapt quickly to different game situations. This includes adjusting their playing style based on the opponent’s strategies, making split-second decisions, and being flexible in their roles on the field.

Every player’s contribution is crucial for the team’s success. By understanding the roles and responsibilities of each position and maximizing their effectiveness, teams can achieve better coordination and performance on the field.

Training for 3 vs 3 Soccer

To excel in this format of the game, players need to undergo specific training exercises and drills that focus on improving their abilities in key areas.

Specific training exercises and drills

There are various drills and exercises that can help players improve their performance in 3 vs 3 soccer. Here are some examples:

  1. Small-sided games: Playing small-sided games, helps players develop their decision-making skills, creativity, and ability to work in tight spaces. These games allow for more touches on the ball and create more opportunities for players to practice their dribbling, passing, and shooting.
  2. Transition drills: Transitioning from defense to attack quickly is crucial. Drills that focus on quick transitions can help players improve their speed, agility, and ability to react and make decisions under pressure.
  3. Shooting drills: Scoring goals is the ultimate objective in soccer. Working on shooting drills can help players improve their accuracy, power, and ability to finish in tight spaces. These drills should involve shooting under pressure and from different positions on the field.
  4. Tactical exercises: players are require to understand and implement effective tactical strategies. Coaches should incorporate exercises that focus on creating space, making runs, and coordinating movements with teammates.

Fitness and conditioning for optimal performance

In addition to technical and tactical training, players also need to focus on their fitness and conditioning to perform at their best. Here are some key aspects of fitness training for this format of the game:

  1. Endurance: Players need to have good cardiovascular endurance to maintain a high level of intensity throughout the game. Regular aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, can help improve endurance.
  2. Speed and agility: Quick bursts of speed and rapid changes in direction are essential. Speed and agility drills, such as shuttle runs and ladder exercises, can help improve these attributes.
  3. Strength and power: Building strength and power in the lower body can enhance a player’s ability to sprint, jump, and tackle. Strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and plyometrics can help develop these physical qualities.
  4. Flexibility: Maintaining flexibility is crucial to prevent injuries and improve overall mobility on the field. Regular stretching exercises and yoga can help improve flexibility.

Overall, training for 3 vs 3 soccer should focus on a combination of technical skills, tactical awareness, and physical fitness. Incorporating a variety of drills and exercises will help players develop the necessary abilities to excel in this fast-paced and dynamic game.

Success Stories

Examples of successful players and teams in 3 vs 3 soccer

When it comes to 3 vs 3 soccer, there have been several notable success stories both at the individual and team level. Here are some examples of successful players and teams in this exciting format of the game:

  1. Lionel Messi: The Argentine superstar has shown his skills in various forms of soccer, including 3 vs 3. Messi’s agility, dribbling ability, and precision in front of goal have made him a force to be reckoned with in this format of the game. He has been a part of successful 3 vs 3 teams and has showcased his talent on numerous occasions.
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo: Another legendary player, Ronaldo has also proven himself in 3 vs 3 soccer. His speed, strength, and goal-scoring prowess have made him a valuable asset to his teams in this format. Ronaldo’s ability to create and score goals has contributed to his success in 3 vs 3 matches.
  3. Spanish National 3 vs 3 Basketball Team: The Spanish team has had great success in the sport of 3 vs 3 basketball. Their cohesive teamwork, passing skills, and ability to adapt to different game situations have resulted in numerous victories. They have showcased their dominance in international competitions, earning themselves a place among the top teams in the world.

Notable achievements and accomplishments in the sport

In addition to the success of individual players and teams, there have been several notable achievements and accomplishments in the world of 3 vs 3 soccer. Some of these include:

  1. World Championships: The 3 Nations Invitational Tournament is an annual competition that brings together some of the best 3 vs 3 teams from around the world. Teams compete for the title of world champions, showcasing their skills and strategies in this fast-paced format of the game.
  2. Youth Development: It has also been instrumental in the development of young players. It offers a platform for them to enhance their skills, decision-making abilities, and teamwork from an early age. Various youth tournaments and leagues encourage participation, nurturing talent and promoting the growth of the sport among young athletes.
  3. Exciting Gameplay: With fewer players on the field, there is more space to maneuver and showcase individual skills. This format encourages quick thinking, creativity, and adaptability, resulting in thrilling matches for both players and spectators.

Overall, 3 vs 3 soccer has proven to be a successful and exciting format of the game. It has provided a platform for players and teams to showcase their talents, achieve remarkable feats, and contribute to the growth of the sport at various levels. Whether it be the incredible performances of individual players like Messi and Ronaldo or the achievements of teams in international competitions, 3 vs 3 soccer continues to captivate fans worldwide.


Encouraging participation and growth in the sport

The study on the effect of 3 vs. 3 soccer small-sided games (SSG) on various performance, inflammatory muscle damage, and hormonal indicators in semi-professional players provides valuable insights into the benefits and considerations of this type of soccer format.

The research found that a 3 vs. 3 SSG format can provide high-intensity training and improve players’ technical, tactical, and physical skills. The dimensions of the field and the number of players in the game have a significant impact on the intensity of the exercise and the physiological response of the players.

During a 3 vs. 3 SSG, players experienced elevated heart rates and lactate concentrations, indicating the high-intensity aerobic and anaerobic demands of the format. However, despite the rigorous nature of the game, the players’ sprint and jump performance remained unaffected.

The study also monitored inflammatory muscle damage markers, such as creatine kinase (CK) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). CK levels peaked 24 hours after the SSG, suggesting muscle damage, while IL-6 levels reached their peak immediately after the SSG and returned to baseline within 24 hours.

Hormonal indicators, specifically cortisol (C) and testosterone (T), were also measured. C levels peaked immediately after the SSG, indicating the stress response, while T levels peaked after the SSG and returned to baseline within 24 hours. The testosterone to cortisol (T/C) ratio, which indicates the balance between anabolic and catabolic processes, recovered in 24 hours.

These findings suggest that players require at least 48 hours to recover from the physiological demands of a 3 vs. 3 SSG. Coaches and trainers should consider this recovery period when planning training sessions and avoid high training loads sooner than 24 hours after the SSG.

Overall, 3 vs. 3 SSGs offer a dynamic and effective training method in soccer. The modified game format allows for improved skill development and can be tailored to the desired intensity of training. Coaches can utilize this format to enhance player performance and encourage participation, while considering the appropriate recovery time for optimal results.

With further research and understanding of the physiological and performance effects of different SSG formats, the soccer community can continue to refine training strategies and promote the growth of the sport.

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