Soccer Goalkeepers

(aka Goalie, Keeper or GK). Except in a small-sided play, each team must have a designated goalkeeper. Except for a "Throw-In", he is the only player on the field who can legally use his hands and then only in certain circumstances. He must wear a shirt or jersey that is recognizably different from all other players (goalkeepers often wear special jerseys with padded elbows). Note: In hot weather, do not put a goalkeeper jersey on a player. They can get too overheated & become sick. Instead, have them wear a different-colored shirt (one shirt only) or a mesh training vest over their shirt. If your goalkeeper has a strong leg, let him take goal kicks. If he has speed, encourage him to play aggressively & if you "Push Up" your Fullbacks on the attack, to come out to the edge of the Penalty Box or beyond to play like a "Second Sweeper". If he picks up the ball & no opponents are close, encourage him to drop the ball & dribble it out & then kick it. (Once he drops it or when out of the Penalty Box, he can play like a field player but can't touch the ball). Encourage him to play aggressively & to take chances, everyone will have much more fun if you do & more kids will want to play goal. I've had our goalkeeper run up field many times to take a corner kick & we've never given up a goal as a result (obviously, only do this if your Goalie has speed). One season I even had a goalkeeper who I would bring out to take throw-ins on the far end of the field. There was really very little risk, but everyone got excited by it. Goalkeepers tend to get blamed for goals when most of the time it isn't their fault (if the other defenders are doing a great job there won't be any shots on goal). You should tell your goalkeeper before the game that the other team is expected to score goals & that it isn't his fault if they score. Do not let anyone else (players or parents) blame the goalkeeper. In fact, after the game you should have the rest of the team thank the goalkeeper, even if he or she did make mistakes. If your team is under age 11, you should encourage everyone to take a try at playing goalkeeper. You will be surprised who is good & you really can't tell until they actually play the position. At the very least, it will give all the players respect for how tough the position is & they will be less likely to blame the goalkeeper when goals are scored. However, do not make a child play goalkeeper if he or she doesn't want to. (See "Second Sweeper", "Goal Kick", "Formations", & Section 2.b of "Fouls" in the Dictionary regarding indirect kick fouls that only apply to the Goalkeeper, & "How to Teach Goalkeeping" in SoccerHelp Premium).