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You can have an average team with a good goalkeeper and that team is a competitive team. You can have an average goalkeeper on a good team and that team becomes very average. The role of the goalkeeper is key to the success or failure of the team. The goalkeeper is as an important player as a baseball pitcher to baseball, a quarterback to a football team or a big center to a basketball team. However, although the goalkeeper is unique and requires specialized training methods, the goalkeeper is not more important than anyone else on the team. The goalkeeper is a team member and needs to be incorporated in the overall team preparations. The goalkeeper is the eyes of the defense and should be the commander and chief of their defensive line. They should have a gladiator mentality. The Gladiator is extremely focused as they prepare for battle. They have their routine and rituals. How they dress. How they prepare their moves. How they mentally get ready for the battle. When they make decisions its with conviction. No doubts. It’s with everything they have. The goalkeeper’s personality and physical presence can dominate his/her goal area like a gladiator. The goal is their house and the goal area is their ground’s. It is their domain. Anytime they train or play matches they own that real estate. What a deal! No property taxes or maintenance. It’s their play box for free. Unwanted guests should feel the pressure of the goalkeeper through their actions and verbal commands. The goalkeeper can establish the environment within the goal area and beyond. They do their best to prevent conceding goals and initiate the attack. It’s not enough just to make the save. They have to keep possession of the ball with quality distribution for their teammates. Their position allows them to lead their team with verbal and physical communication. Although strategically it’s not the best position to give the armband because of the distance the goalkeeper is from their teammates and the referee as well as the actions that take place further from their goal. But it’s amazing how often the goalkeepers are the captains of the team.
Yours in Goal,
About the Author: Dan Gaspar is the current Iranian National Team goalkeeper coach. Dan is also the founder of Star Goalkeeper Academy and director of Connecticut Soccer School. He was worked with Portuguese powerhouses Porto, Benfica, as well as Portuguese National Team. Coach Gaspar has also coached with the South African National Team and was the head coach of the University of Hartford. Dan has been a pioneer in goalkeeper education for more than 40 years.