The goalkeeper position stands out from all the rest on the field. They wear a different color jersey and they have the ability to use their hands in the 18 yard box. The one player who takes the blame when the ball ends up behind them in the net. The position that is considered by many popular soccer players of the past and present to be occupied by “Insane People”. The position that is by far the most neglected in local youth soccer clubs.
Many youth field players go through their entire time at a club without ever having played keeper in a competitive soccer match. In the case of U10’s and younger coaches make a good point to rotate their players’ positions, they very often fail to have everyone play at least once every season in goal. In order for field players to truly have the most complete development, they must play goalkeeper a few times.
Goalkeepers see the game from behind, they see all what is happening all the time. The whole game is in front of them. By watching the game from where the goalkeeper stands, field players can realize concepts they previously did not understand about the game and the formation of both teams.
Goalkeeper is a very difficult position play. It takes a lot of courage to dive at someone’s feet when they’re taking a shot on goal. There is also a lot of pressure for goalkeepers. Being the last person trying to stop the ball – especially on a star-out or a breakaway – is a tough position. Learning to deal with a goalkeepers pressure is important for all field players.
Goalkeepers are the so-called “misunderstood teammates”. It’s hard for the rest of the team to relate to them and understand what they have to go through. If all field players had some time in goal, they would be able to empathize with the GK and relate better with them. This is extremely important for the long-term development of ultra-positive team chemistry.
As coaches, we need to encourage and allow all of our very young players to try standing in goal at some point. As parents, you can encourage your boy or girl to try goalkeeping. Allow field players to become the best players they can possibly be. Allow them to play in goal from time to time.
Who remembers Rodrigo Schiegel Playing against New York City FC in the first round of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, Schlegel took over as goalkeeper during the penalty shoot-out after starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese received a second yellow card for leaving the goal line early to make what would have been a winning save. Schlegel conceded two penalties before making the decisive save against Guðmundur Þórarinsson, helping Orlando to win and advance to the Conference Semifinals.
Well he confessed in an interview days later that he will often scrimmage as a goalkeeper and this helped him not only to make that amazing save, but to understand the game better.
Joe Hart was just a 10-year-old guy when he was chosen to play for his local team Shrewsbury. He was a courageous outfield player, playing for his school and Sunday sides. However, he took up goalkeeping for the very first time when he joined Shrewsbury aged 14. He turned out to be one of the best England goalkeepers of the past 30 years.