Westfield Soccer Association

Introducing the Goal Player

Weekly Coaches' Email 10/22/2014

We all know as coaches that the position of the goalkeeper is an important position to fill on our team, but some teams struggle to find players that want to play in the goal. One of the reasons children might not like to play in the goal is simply because mistakes are costly. With an emphasis on winning there might be to much pressure on these young players. If they feel like the let the team down it is hard to convince them to play that position again. Our focus is on the development of soccer players, including skilled goal keepers, and we need to make sure our goalkeepers are comfortable in the goal. We also need to stress to our parents that players all across the field will make mistakes and that no one is entitled to criticize a young goalkeeper when they do make a mistake.
Another reason players might loose interest in playing goalkeeper is because to often they are forced to stand on the backline and they take no part in the game. Children like to be active and need to be involved. Standing still, not feeling part of the game, especially when it is cold out is not a whole lot of fun for  young players.
It is obvious that the goalkeeper is an important position on the team and that we need to work hard as a club to give young players the opportunity to experience the position, without specializing at an early age. We only have so many coaches in the club that have experience in the position so many of us struggle to work out how to include the keeper in the game. One thing that is very important to know is that the goalkeeper (or goal player) is 1 of your players that can be utilized both in offense and defense. Goalkeepers should not only be used to block shots or to punt the ball up the field!
With an emphasis on a well developed build up from the back players should be encouraged to utilize the goalkeeper and pass the ball back if we can't go forwards. Young goalkeepers will than gain a better understanding of what their role is and they are also more engaged and involved in the game.
To explain this all I wrote an article on the role of our goal player. I would like to encourage you all to read this article when you have chance:  "WSA: Introducing the Goal Player". The article is of course attached to the email.
The goal players has an important role when developing a possession based style of soccer. They only way to develop this is by including your goal player! Don't be afraid to use your goal player as a player, not just as a keeper.
Steve Lengen, the goalkeeper coach from competitive goalkeeping, will also run a clinic on this topic on Tuesday October 28th. The clinic will take place on Sid Fay/Houlihan and will start at 8pm.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to me!
Ruben Vloedgraven
Director of Coaching - Westfield Soccer Association