February 20, 2007

Two broken ribs, three cracked ribs, one broken arm, seven broken noses, two broken wrists, a broken hand, broken, dislocated and sprained fingers too many to mention and numerous stitches.


Over the winter months I have noticed keepers who play only as shot stoppers, distributing the ball long only and never getting a pass back from teammates. When I ask the keepers why they don’t take their own goal kicks or why they don’t try to start the counter out of the back they tell me they are doing what they are instructed to do.

When I see a defender facing their own goal with a ball at their feet and an opponent on their back I wonder why they kick the ball out of bounds or even worse try to turn. Well, when I ask a few of them they tell me they are told not to pass the ball back to the keeper, they are suppose to play “safe” and kick the ball out of bounds.

With the game today, keepers should be able to play the ball with their feet as well as kick their own goal kicks and I know that sometimes they don’t have the technical ability to succeed with these responsibilities. However, if they are never given the responsibility or opportunity to perform these tasks how do they gain the confidence to do them?


Yes, keepers should be practicing how to take goal kicks and how to use their feet effectively, but the reality is that so many young keepers are put aside at team training sessions and told to do “keeper stuff” until the coach is ready for them. At this point they go into the goal as the rest of the team perform drills that bring them within ten yards of the goal and they blast the ball at goal.

As much as it is the coach’s responsibility to give field players the tools to perform on the field they must also offer these tools to the keeper. I think that it is time for teams and coach’s to realize there are eleven players on the pitch not ten and the other one. Even when a field player has to play goal for one reason or another most of their teammates don’t pass the ball to them or utilize them as another player.

As coach’s you should use the winter league as an opportunity for your keeper to be included in the game and not be just a shot stopper. This way, perhaps, the keeper will have the extra motivation to work at these needed skills.

At the top of this article I listed a number of injuries. These are some of the injuries that I have suffered during my playing career. Every one of these injuries was incurred while trying to stop the ball from entering my goal so as not to let my team down. With the courage to perform for themselves and their teammates no matter what the cost, I think it only fair that keepers be afforded the opportunity to play the “beautiful game”.


That’s it for now; keep the comments and questions coming. Until next chat I’ll see you on the pitch.


    PS I can’t wait for the feedback from this chat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    
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Last Updated February 20, 2007