In soccer, the position of goalkeeper requires years of hard work and focused training. Goalkeepers practice dribbling and passing the soccer ball with field players and jumping and diving for the ball. The position requires balance, hand-eye coordination, agility and a strong mental focus.
Protecting the Goal
The goalkeeper is the last line of defense to prevent the other team from scoring. The goalkeeper can punch the ball, catch the ball or kick the ball back into play. The only player who can use his hands within the goal box is the goalkeeper. Advanced teams place the goalie well out of the goal when their offense is on attack to provide an advantage in numbers compared to the opposing team.
Coordinating the Defense
Goalkeepers are the eyes and ears on the field and may often see things the coaches do not. The goalkeeper communicates with the defensive players and midfielders to place them in correct position and gives them instructions to change formation to prevent the oncoming attack of the other team. The goalkeeper coordinates the defense during free kicks, corner kicks and goal kicks. More advanced players will understand and respect the role of the goalkeeper and follow her directions.
Distributing the Ball
The goalkeeper has an excellent view of the field of play and can change the field of play from one side to another. As an example, the ball can come to the goalkeeper from the right side of the field and he can kick it to the left side of the field. Changing the ball quickly from one side to another is important to move the ball past the opponent’s defense. Goalies can place the ball directly to the midfield with a drop kick so that the team is quickly prepared to attacking the other goal. Soccer teams that effectively use the goalkeeper to distribute the ball to players ultimately dominate play and have more shots on goal.
Goalkeepers help facilitate communication between defensive and midfield players and provide valuable feedback for coaches. Coaches can benefit from discussing various lineups and strategies with the goalie. The goalie can also help communicate issues with the referee and is a good choice to serve as the team’s captain.