Does Someone on Your Soccer Team Have a Nose for Goalie?

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The highs and lows of goalie are particularly extreme – (Photo: Lynnwoodtoday.com)

One of the difficulties in coaching youth soccer is the position of goalie.  For some reason, many kids absolutely loathe the position.  It seems so constricting, so limiting.  The goalie stands all alone, never to score a goal, and often bearing the responsibility of keeping the team afloat.  Goalies are more often the goat than the hero because their mistakes carry so much weight.  It’s all part of the position.  Experts often say that true goalies have a bit of a crazy element to them; they say one must be mad to enjoy the position.

But every team must have a goalie, and this can present a problem for a youth soccer coach.  Each and every game someone must take the position between the stakes and poor play here can ruin any chance of winning the game.  Many coaches try the “everybody must try” goalie approach, which rotates the position throughout the season so that everyone plays perhaps one half of a game in the goal.  The problem here is that many players just aren’t good at goalie.  Also, some strict outfield players may perform poorly on purpose so they aren’t put in the goal ever again.  A coach is treading on thin ice here.

The best approach is to ask the team for volunteers for players who are at least willing to try the position.  Hopefully, at least 4 or 5 of the kids will express interest.  The good thing about this manner of selection is that now the people who will play the position have at least agreed to do it.  Having several players interested is key, as they can take turns in the goal and still get an opportunity to play on the field and score goals!

But what you really want to look for is a natural-born goalkeeper.  Perhaps he or she is a bit tall and lanky.  Maybe they have cat-like agility and can cover the whole goal.  However the circumstance comes about, your goalkeeper quandary can be sorted out very easily so long as such a player is on your team.

But, you need to talk to the player and see if they want to permanently play goalie.  While specialty positions like goalie become present in older teams and certainly in the professional ranks, a U-10 player really should see some field action, even if they are well equipped to play goalie.  Truth be told, such a primary keeper shouldn’t be playing more than one half of goalie per game.  This will give them time to get running around a bit.  What you don’t want to do is stick some kid in the goal each and every game that doesn’t really want to be there and ruin their experience.  Or worse yet, you could stick a kid back there and their overall soccer skills won’t be able to develop.  Remember, young kids are far from knowing what position is where their future lies.  Don’t force them into a particular spot.  Let them try out the entire game, learn what each position entails, and let future coaches on more competitive teams mold them into their true specialty.


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