Is you goalkeeper son or daughter neglected by their head coach? Or at least do you feel it’s that way? Does your coach work with all sectors of the team, but simply has the team take shots on the goalkeeper and thinks that’s all he/she needs to do to keep the goalkeeper trained?

Most clubs have in their coaching roster goalkeeper trainers and there are some very good/qualified GK trainers out there. One of my son’s favorite goalkeeper coaches works at a MLS Next club (Florida Rush), he is a part of a 4 keeper coach team. Goalkeepers get to work 3 times a week in a 4/1 ratio. Florida Rush has coughed up some of the best young keepers in the state and I really don’t need to even go into explaining why that is happening.

Most youth soccer clubs have 1 GK coach for as many as 40 keepers. The sessions are once or twice a week and the sessions are usually on a 1 to 10 ratio and USC stats show that this “crowded” training is very much non-effective. 90% of the time there is no plan for the year, the season, the month, the week, it’s just random goalkeeper training.

What I noticed in the United Kingdom is that head coaches will have a plan for their keepers and that plan is not an “Extra” it’s normal practice, the keeper is a part of the team, they have nothing less as a defender, midfielder or striker in the eyes of the head coach. With great regret I noticed in the most here in the U.S. there is absolutely no focus during team training on the goalkeeper. There are no drills that are built to integrate the goalkeeper into the team pattern. 90% of coaches will complain on a GK’s mistake, but will not give an explanation on how to fix the issue addressed, simply because they don’t know how to, or because the goalkeeper (in their eyes) is there just to stop balls from going in (once again… in their eyes).

The UEFA and the USSF license B courses actually obligate the candidate coach to know the basics of goalkeeping, so coaches with a B, A and Pro license, why are you implementing integrated sessions in team practice that involve the goalkeeper. Why are you not educating the team on the GK role? The coaches that do… well you can see that during the game!

I have the perfect example:
A club came out with a program that once a week defenders, midfielders and strikers will work separately. I think that it is an outstanding idea that all the defenders work together, like the midfielders and the strikers. The coaches can focus on detailed specifics with the players and in the long run these sessions will pay off!… But what about the goalkeepers? Where will they be training?

A concerned goalie-parent contacted the club director and his reply was “Talk to your team coach”. In other words, they did not put the goalkeepers into this program. You’d expect them to say: “Week one with the defenders working on back-passing and distribution. Week two with the strikers to work on shot-stopping and positioning” . It’s not rocket science, it’s the basics they teach you during your soccer licensing!!!!

It’s like going to mechanic for a complete check-up on your car. Engine tune-up, hydraulics and electrical check, breaks recalibrated, but they don’t take a look at the transmission! It may seem ridiculous, but this comparison is “SPOT-ON”.