USSF: Age Considerations for Goalkeepers

Goalkeeping Age Objectives

Distributed by US Soccer-Peter Mellor National Teams Goalkeeping Coach and Coordinator


Technical: Tactical:

Psychological: Fitness:


Tactical: Psychological:

Fitness: to set position.



6-8 Year Olds

Hand Eye coordination and balance games. Rotation of all players through the goals so that every player is exposed to Goalkeeping. Let the game be the teacher. FUN, FUN, FUN, games must be enjoyable. FUN movement games.


8-10 Year Olds

Principles of Goalkeeping Footwork Exercises Getting Set (feet) General Handling Techniques-Thrown service-All Heights-Small Goal Distribution-Rolling and Throwing to a teammate, Control and Short Passing w/ both feet, Short volleying from the hands both feet, Striking a still ball.

Ball Familiarity (size 4) Rotation of players through the team. Everybody plays in each position FUN and enjoyable, Simple Progression of Techniques-“One Step at a Time”. Teach Warm up-Cool Down and Stretching Exercises, from down to the ground and up


10-12 Year Olds

Principles of Goalkeeping Footwork Exercises Getting Set General Handling Techniques Basic Diving Techniques-General Breakdown of them Dealing with Crosses-Thrown Services Distribution-1st touch receiving, control and short passing w/ both feet, Under arm

bowling, side and overarm Throwing to targets, Volleying from the hands, Goal kicks

1v1 Basic Principles

“Quality Not Quantity”

Tactical: Explain the basic tactical role of the goalkeeper-Positional Play-Basic Angle play-Into line and down the line of

The flight of the ball (“Attacking the ball”)

Psychological: Simple progression in techniques-Set Standards, Pay Attention to Detail-What Qualities Does a Goalkeeper Need?

Fitness: Warm Ups and Cool Downs Introduction to the Importance of Stretching

Flexibility and Mobility Exercise (Footwork) Check Height, Weight, and Vertical Jump 3 times per year (Jan/May/Sept-keep records)Technical:

Recovery Save


12-14 year olds

Principles of Goalkeeping Set Position/General Handling-Techniques all Heights Shot Stopping Decision Making Techniques of Catching/Deflecting and Boxing Diving Techniques-Collapse Save/Step and Save/Step Power and Save/Reaction Save/

Dealing with Crosses-Chipped Serve/Catching, Punching both unopposed and opposed

Distribution-Dealing with the back pass both unopposed and opposed-Importance of support, all techniques of

Throwing (Roll, Sidearm, Overarm). Goal Kicks/Volleying and Introduction to Half Volleying 1v1 Principles “Quality not Quantity”

1v1 w/the defense Distance of support to the defense Communication (Quality not Quantity) Functional and Game Related Practices/Small Sided Games/Decision Making Introduction and training in the full size Goal with markings, as often as possible.


Motivational/Technical Talks 10-15 minutes maximum. “The Full Size Goal”-Dealing with the problems that





Will arise in the match.

Match and Training Preparation Growth and Development-Diet and Nutrition-Lifestyle Dealing with both Positive and Negative Assessments (Praise and Criticism) Dealing with the Selection and tryouts both positive and negative results. Soccer Terminology

Warm ups and Cool downs Plyometric exercises. Goalkeeper specific stretching Footwork all directions/planting of feet for change of Lateral direction Speed-18 yards Max distance (Penalty Box)

Check Height/Weight and Vertical Jump 4x per year-(Jan/April/July/October-Keep


14-16 Year Olds Principles of Goalkeeping (Paying attention to detail).

Footwork/set positions/General Handling Techniques All Diving Techniques-Collapse/Step and Save/Step Power and Save. Narrowing the Angle Shot Stopping/catch or deflect/Recovery Save Practices to improve reactions Dealing with Crosses-Served from all areas/angles Unopposed and Opposed and in

Functional Practices and Small Sided Games

Distribution-Dealing with the Back pass with pressure, giving good angles and Distance of support, Giving Quality

Communication/Control-First Touch/Both Feet, Variation of pass.

Goal Kicks/Volleys/Half Volleys/Introduction/practice of the technique of the side volley (Central/South American)


Improved Range and power and Variation in Throwing techniques Video Analysis of their own techniques (if possible) Training/Matches Feedback

“Quality Not Quantity”

Key issues in distance of support including recognizing pressure on and off the ball.

Communication-working with the defensive unit to build up understanding of each others strengths and



Keep records)

Weaknesses responsibilities

Presence Knowing position of teammates Making small adjustments often to stay in line with the ball (footwork) Game Related Situations-Functional and Small Sided Games-11v11 Organization in Defending Set Plays on Free Kicks and Corner Kicks

Motivational Talks/Videos-15 minute maximum Team Discussions/Presentations Training and Match Preparation Lifestyles/Discipline

Living Away from Home Dealing with Competition Physical Confrontations Dealing with Pressure-Internal/External Dealing with both Success and Failure

Warm ups and Cool downs Stretching, Flexibility, Mobility and Strengthening Exercise. Plyometric Exercises Recovery Exercises Introduction to Agility Exercises-low intensity/low reps Weight Training-low Weights/High reps Footwork All directions (all Goalkeeping movements). Speed-20 Yards Maximum Check Height, Weight, and Vertical Leap 6 x per year (Jan/Mar/May/Jul/Sept/Nov-

Check body fat