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Fundamental Soccer Blog

When Things Go Wrong

Between poor Rob Green to poor other ‘keepers that drop clangers or worse still when clangers roll past you, between your legs, at snail pace into their net. I think we agree that there’s no place to hide or worse place to be on this planet. So how to cope and prevent it happening again?

Obviously more practice on the vital art of fielding s ball which takes up over 80% of a ‘keepers job but also the reaction of their teammates & coaches to this tragedy. Look what happened to poor Rob when that ball crawled in and the reaction of his so-called teammates who turned away in disgust/sorrow and suddenly Rob became a leper.

My next question is who is the last person on your team do you want to be in the doldrums and probably about to react with more errors – the goalkeeper.

My next question is “how do we help the ‘keeper become part of the team again? Yes we can replace the player with a fresh goalie and that bring other problems. especially if it’s a tense affair, a bitterly cold day and totally unprepared to enter the fray. This was nearly the case recently in a college game played under lights in freezing conditions on turf and the “Green fingers” disease struck again. The ball went into the net agonizing slowly that the local police nearly arrested the ball for loitering with intent. That’s how slow the shot was!

Back to the freezing, night-time conditions on a turf pitch and being out of the play for long periods. The poor ‘keeper just became a human ice-cube and so it was a perfect set up for “keeper error” which happened with minutes to go  after his team dictated the play.

Let’s finish with positive examples –

(a) This happened towards the end of a NCAA D3 Play Off game between Ohio Wesleyan and Bethany. Bethany went a goal up but the OWU Captain immediately sprinted into his own net, consoled his goalie and in record time had the ball on the center spot. The referee urged the Bethany players back, and rushing by the referee to restart the game. The result was the turning point of the game with OWU going onto win 2-1. Bethany never got to enjoy the goal they scored and suddenly the game was turned upside down with OWU taking advantage.

Just think if England had a captain like OWU’s ultra positive leader and the USA might have had to pay a high price for scoring that goal.

(b) The need for the ‘keeper to be involved in as many practices of the team as possible and not left isolated or away from the team.  The concept of a “Sweeper Keeper” is important whereby they can come out of their box and stay in contact with the team with pass backs to getting assists like Neuer,the German ‘keeper in this past World Cup, or verbal instructions & encouragement.

(c) On the restarting kick-off get the ball back to the ‘keeper to get a touch and get them back playing for the team again.

(d) The reserve ‘keeper to “coach” the starting goalie and make sure they are “alive” and in the “ready, alert mode all the time. The Goalkeepers Union are in the Three Musketeers class ‘ “All for One & One for All” and work to become brilliant teammates,- helping, guiding & encouraging each other.

Graham Ramsay

Graham Ramsay is the Director of Soccer Sphere, a soccer educational cum marketing company based near Washington, DC. He is also the former Director of Soccer Development for the Maryland State Soccer Association with nearly 20 years of service to the youth in that state. Graham was one of the first National Staff Coaches for US SOCCER and has written several books and numerous articles. His latest book, SOCCER FOR GIRLS has sold nearly 60,000 copies worldwide. Graham has spent extensive time traveling with soccer teams in Brazil. As well as coaching in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and across Europe. While in the USA has coached in over 30 States doing clinics, workshops to helping college teams reach the NCAA's to taking Annandale Boys Club to winning the McGuire Cup (U19 National Championship) to developing high school programs to help creating one of the finest youth programs in the USA - MSI in Montgomery County, Maryland. Graham Ramsay also runs Soccer Clinics! Click here for more information.