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Soccer Goalie: The Secrets On How To Be A Good Goalkeeper

The soccer goalie is the last line of defense on your team. The position is unique and essential. Goalkeeper, keeper, and goaltender are other names for this position.

In soccer, the goalkeeper is the only position with special rules. Every other player follows the same rules. However, the goalie has a significant advantage in touching the football with their hands while in the penalty area.

A goalkeeper’s job is one of the toughest on the soccer field, requiring concentration, composure, and the ability to pull off saves at any moment.

diving on the ground

Soccer Goalie Skills

There is a misconception that a soccer goalkeeper does not need to be athletic. However, many teams choose their goalies based on their athletic and shot stopping abilities.

Goalkeepers do not need superior ball control, shooting, or dribbling skills, as outfield players do. In addition to being very quick and athletic, the soccer goalie needs to have excellent hands. Goalies must be intelligent, courageous, and brave while commending the team’s defenders and their own penalty area.

get your body behind the soccer ball

A Soccer Goalie Being Effective

Having safe hands is important to becoming a good goalkeeper. It is essential to practice catching all types of shots. As the last line of defense, an unintentional mistake or an odd soccer ball bounce can cost your team a goal and a match.

The Moving Ball

Picking up a rolling ball sounds easy, but sometimes it skids or spins, making it difficult for a goalie to grab. Picking up a rolling ball involves:

  • Keep your body between the football and the goal.
  • Get down on one knee.
  • Leaning forward.
  • Scooping the ball to your chest with both hands.

Strong In The Air

Balls in the air are also tricky to control. Footballs can curve, dive, or move in strange ways depending on their spin, lack thereof, and speed. When you catch a ball in the air, you need to keep your body between the goal and the ball, bend your elbows, and keep your palms forward and close together.

soccer goal making a save with one end

Obstructing The Soccer Ball

The ball needs to be deflected if you cannot catch it. Therefore, keeping the ball out of the goal is essential. In addition, a keeper should avoid redirecting it directly to an opponent. Practicing deflections will help you learn how to hit or punch the ball away from the goal and make you a good goalkeeper.

A shot rolling on the ground sometimes requires you to dive to the floor and use your entire body to deflect it. Deflecting a high shot sometimes requires jumping and stretching. It’s possible to stretch a bit higher if you reach and jump off one leg with one hand.

Your Stance And Positioning As A Soccer Goalie

Proper positioning is crucial to being a good goalkeeper. Always keep the ball between yourself and the goal. A soccer goalie should stand forward of the actual goal line, never on or inside the goals. Doing this on a corner kick and an indirect free kick is imperative to avoid getting pinned down by the opponent. In addition, the angle at which a shot is aimed can be reduced with proper positioning.

A goalkeeper should always be ready to move quickly to the ball. Having a balanced stance is vital for the soccer goalkeeper. Standing properly involves crouching slightly, standing feet apart, and leaning slightly forward.

goalie throwing the ball

Passing The Soccer Ball

A goalkeeper must pass the ball to their teammates after gaining control. Then, the ball can be thrown or kicked. Punting the ball generally goes further, but there is less control the further you are trying to kick it. Feel free to move to the top of your penalty area before releasing the soccer ball.

Make sure to practice kicking a stationary and moving ball from the ground. Due to the back pass rule, you cannot pick it up when the football is passed back to you from your teammates. Therefore, the opposing team will put pressure on you in this situation.

Connection With Defenders

Communicating with teammates is crucial for a soccer goalie. Having the best view of the soccer field, the soccer goalkeeper can spot unmarked players or alert defenders when another player is approaching. In addition, the keeper is responsible for directing and coordinating the defense on the soccer field.

soccer goal communicating with his teammates

Mentally Tough

A soccer goalie should have mental toughness. They need to forget about the goal they conceded and continue to play well. A soccer goalkeeper must always maintain confidence and a short memory, like a pitcher who hits a home run or a quarterback who throws an interception.

Soccer Goalie Equipment


Soccer players wear shorts and a jersey as their uniforms. On the back of the jersey, players on the same team wear their numbers and names. Referees can quickly identify goalkeepers by their distinctively colored jerseys during play.

Goalkeepers wear either short or long jerseys, depending on if they require some cushioning in their sleeves. This can help to prevent injuries. In addition, having a different color jersey makes it easier to identify the soccer goalkeeper.

saving the football in front of your body

Soccer Goalie Cleats 

Ensure you wear appropriate soccer cleats, depending on the surface. It’s more than other players that you have the correct footwear in the game. You can’t afford to slip when that next shot comes toward you.

Shin Guards

Like outfield players, goalkeepers wear shin guards to prevent injuries to ankles and shins during collisions with the opposing team. The referee will check before the game to ensure you are wearing them.

soccer goalkeeping gloves

Goalkeeping Gloves

Goalkeeper gloves are typically manufactured from leather-like materials, polyurethane or latex. Gloves provide more grip while taking the momentum out of shots from the attacking team, so there is less chance of stinging hands or injury.

Unique Rules For Keepers

  • A goalkeeper can not use their hands outside of the penalty area.
  • Goalies have no more than six seconds to pass the ball to another player when they possess it.
  • Goalkeepers can throw or kick the ball as long as they are within their penalty area upon release.
  • The goalie in soccer cannot use their hands if a teammate kicks the ball back. Throw-ins also fall under this rule.
  • Unique clothing must be worn by a soccer goalie, which differs from the jerseys worn by their teammates. This helps officials identify the goalkeepers.
  • The GK cannot pick up the ball from the ground again once the ball is in play on the ground.
  • The soccer goalkeeper must stand on the goal line until the penalty kick is taken.

goalie missing a penalty


Best Soccer Goalies Of All Time

You may have never heard about most of the goalies on this top 7 list. So make sure you check them out.

1. Lev Yashin

There is no doubt that Lev Yashin is the most outstanding goalkeeper in soccer history and the greatest player from the Soviet Union.

Even though Yashin spent his entire professional career with Dynamo Moscow, his performances for the Soviet Union attracted international attention.

Gigi Buffon playing champions league football for Juventus

2. Gigi Buffon

Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is considered by many to be the most incredible shot-stopper in history, even more significant than Dino Zoff. He was the most outstanding goalkeeper in the world in the 2000s. Soccer fans adore Buffon. Italian fans have traveled the world to watch him play soccer.

3. Manuel Neuer

With Bayern Munich and Germany, Manuel Neuer has enjoyed tremendous success as an unconventional but superbly talented goalie. Neuer has won numerous awards, including the World Cup and the Golden Boot. In addition, he would command his penalty area like no other.

ladislao mazurkiewicz close up shot

4. Ladislao Mazurkiewicz

Indeed, the best goalkeeper to come from North or South America. The Uruguayan played in three World Cups and took over the title of the best goalkeeper in the world from Lev Yashin. The goalie Ladislao Mazurkiewicz seemed unbeatable when the opposing team had an indirect free kick.

5. Gordon Banks

The most fantastic England goalkeeper of all time is Gordon Banks. In 1970, he made a superb save against Brazil in the World Cup and will be remembered forever. He made the most saves of all time.

peter schmiechel scoring a goal

6. Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel is widely regarded as the most excellent goalkeeper in the English Premier League.

Schmeichel won five league titles with Manchester United, including the Champions League in 1999. He was one of the best reflex savers the world has ever produced.

He will be remembered for communicating (i.e., shouting) to his defense.

juventus goalkeeper dino zoff

7. Dino Zoff

Dino Zoff is one of the greatest goalkeepers in history. He holds a record of 1,142 minutes for keeping a clean sheet for the most extended amount of time. Out of 720 games at first-level, he has kept 360 clean sheets.

Ubaldo Fillol

8. Ubaldo Fillol

Arguably the best goal keeper in South America and Argentina’s football history. In 1974, 1978, and 1982, Fillol participated in three FIFA World Cups. Ubaldo Fillol was named World Cup’s best goalkeeper during the 1978 tournament. While a soccer keeper usually wears the number 1 jersey, Fillol wore the number 5.
peter shilton taking a rest in training
9. Peter Shilton
 He made his debut at 17 and quit permanently at 48 after playing 1,005 official matches (the last 7 with Leyton Orient in the Third Division). For a few years, he remained in the shadow of Gordon Banks, but when the legendary English goalkeeper lost sight in one eye, he became a starter for the national team.
10. Pat Jennings
The Northern Ireland soccer goal keeper made his debut at 18 alongside George Best in the 3-2 win against Wales.
Jennings played his last game ever (in has more than 1,000 assets) always with the Northern Ireland shirt, on his 41st birthday, on the occasion of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, which made him the oldest player ever in the history of the World Cup, a record later broken in 1994 by the Cameroonian Roger Milla.

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