By Tim Smith, DKCU Goalkeeper Coach
Soccer is rightfully known as the beautiful game. People come to watch the sport for one reason and one reason only, to see and celebrate goals. So why on Earth would anyone want to be a goalkeeper? What breed of person would be willing to put themselves inside a goal that is way too big, against 10 men trying to place a ball that is way too small beyond them.
When placed side by side, up and down, a goal can fit 122 soccer balls. Take away a goalkeepers body then that means they are responsible for stopping roughly another 100 places balls could fit around them just standing in place. Not to mention the curve, the drop, the knuckle, the swerve, the bounce, the players blocking your view, the deflection and the acts of mother nature. Did I mention that some of these lads can strike the ball at 70 mph+? That’s a stinger you will be taking home.
Why would someone want to take on that responsibility? Because as goalkeepers, we love it.
The sport has evolved so quickly in just the last 20 years. Technology has been coming in the “help” the already great game. Boots are made with synthetics engineered to be lighter and put more surface area of a player’s foot on the ball. Balls go through advance aerodynamics systems to fly further and faster. Cameras are literally placed on the goal line to make sure all goals scored are counted. None of these technologies have matched a goalkeeper’s resolve.
The modern day goalkeeper is a jack of all trades. They are tasked with the already referenced keeping the ball out of the net. They are also responsible for crosses into the penalty box. They sort defensive lines during free kick situations. They communicate with the field players during open play. They become an outlet pass for defenders when pressed. And, of course act as the last line when things go awry for the team. Goalkeepers need to be strong leaders and confident in their abilities.
Time and time again through my career and watching pro ball I have seen one big save turn the tide of the whole game. Goalkeepers have that ability to be a team's spark plug to get them going. With a strong team ahead of them sometimes a goalkeeper’s job is just moral support. Make no mistake; they will always be there, waiting, ready to take on that challenge.
It comes with great pride that I can say as well that we have some of these types of players on this year’s roster.
Goalkeepers, what a crazy bunch.