Role Description – Goalkeeper (1)

In our playing strategy, as with every strategy, we play with 1 goalkeeper, the number 1. Alongside the usual shot-stopping and cross catching our keeper is also expected to give discipline and organisation to our defensive structure whilst playing an important part of our in possession, attacking play.

To help the player in this position, and their team-mates, understand their role we have defined it as requiring the following:

Player Challenges

Key challenges for the players in this role are:

  • to be vocal when organising our defensive play
  • to secure possession of the ball using aerial power and good handling
  • to have a strong sense of position
  • to be positive and aggressive in 1 v 1 situations
  • to be good at anticipating opponents decisions and movements
  • to communicate with team-mates, particularly central backs and central midfielders, to keep an organised structure
  • to pass or move the ball quickly and accurately when appropriate

Out of Possession

The primary task of the goalkeeper is to stop the opposition scoring and be the communicator and leader of our defensive organisation as he will see the whole pitch.

This task is:

  • to ensure that the team is organised when defending
  • to ensure that team-mates are marking opponents appropriately
  • to ensure that team-mates maintain a defensive awareness when we’re attacking
  • to work with defensive unit to stay compact when appropriate (positioning)
  • to deny the opponents goals by making saves and catching crosses

In Possession

When we are in possession of the ball the keeper’s task is to be the deepest point for build up play whilst retaining a responsibility for giving defensive stability.

Specifically the task is:

  • to be a point of reference for the side backs (2 and 3), central backs (5 and 6), and the central midfielders (4 and 8)
  • to provide a safe passing option to whoever is on the ball at all times
  • upon receiving the ball they should be looking, whenever possible, to be positive to continue or start an attacking play. This is usually by switching play quickly or passing forward into players feet but could also be driving the ball long and forward into the attacking players.
  • to play long, accurate passes when appropriate to bypass opponents who are pressing high or to initiate a direct counter attack

Across the Corners

Physically, quick reactions, aerial power, strength, acceleration and deceleration (particularly over short distances) are key requirements along with the agility, balance and coordination necessary to dive to make saves, and the strength to stay upright even when under physical pressure such as when challenging for the ball from crosses.

Technically it will be important to be competent at handling, shot-stopping, defensive organisation, ball control and manipulation, ball distribution with hands and feet, receiving to keep possession, and to have an awareness of both space and the location of other players (ours and the opposition).

Psychologically the player will need to have the desire to avoid conceding a goal, be disciplined and responsible, be a stable and consistent performer who avoids risks, and have high game intelligence (crucial for making good decisions). Communication skills, self-belief, confidence and leadership are vital components required by this player and they often have a strong or aggressive element to their game which is needed to win the ball when in crowded penalty areas.

Socially the player will probably be outgoing, possibly a leader for their team-mates, sometimes taking on the captaincy role, they will need to be able to build good partnerships with other players particularly the defensive unit, and will be valued by others for being reliable and trusted to do the right thing or be in the right place at all times.