Goalkeepers wanted (but not available)

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by CornfieldSoccer, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'm curious about how many clubs lack goalkeepers (and I do recall people talking about the issue here and there in this forum).

    My son's u14/15 team in a club with roughly 400 players has no real keeper and plays keeper by committee, something I realized today likely will not change until he ages out of the club (none of the 3-4 kids who play the position train as keepers, making it one heck of an adventure at times, and one they've sometimes gotten away with until about now -- they're paying the price for it the past year or so, and I think it'll only get worse).

    But the situation isn't unique in this club. I doubt there are more than a half-dozen kids in the club, maybe eight, who are true keepers -- play there most if not all the time, train as keepers, ... I don;t want kids locked in as keepers when they're too young, but at this point the team needs one (and really two).

    How common is this? How do clubs handle it -- coerce kids into playing there full time, just live with it, try to recruit keepers in (not a great option where we are, with a few other clubs close by), ...?
  2. keeper dad

    keeper dad Member

    Jun 24, 2011
    We are a few years removed so my experience may be a bit dated but I think I may have an answer to the "why". When my son was playing his club had 2 teams at his age level and had 4 keepers when he started, 5 in his last year with the club, and part of the reason he was leaving was they were looking to bring in a 6th.

    Granted the club was known to develop keepers and tended to land at least one (male or female) at a Division One program each graduating class, so they attracted keepers. The problem became, as a keeper you either played or you didn't. There was/is little substitution at the position, certainly no where near as much as other positions. That second (and heaven forbid the third) keeper either sat the bench for full games or was playing in the field which caused the full time field players/parents to be upset over losing playing time.

    Being the clear #1 was great, playing full games but being #2 was awful and drove players to quit. Yes the club grew the number of keepers over the years we were there but of the original 4 only 1 remained after my son left, the other 4 all came from other clubs (the one that remained was #3 on the top team but his dad was a board member).

    It is feast or famine for a keeper in most sports (hockey, LAX, water polo, etc.) and if the playing time isn't there kids will leave or switch positions.
    CornfieldSoccer and socalsoccer23 repped this.
  3. Zag Chef

    Zag Chef New Member

    United States
    Dec 20, 2017
    My daughter is a keeper and we seen both sides, we live close to a State line and last few years my kids have been playing on the other side for more competition and there is a huge shortage of keepers. This was great for my daughter she played half keeper half field on her U11 team, Full time keeper with her sister on the U12 team and even played some games as keeper at U13, gotvto the point where she was playing too much

    In the winter she played indoor on both her teams but also played full time keeper on 2 other teams from different clubs overall go a good 50 plus indoor games between both winter sessions

    Flash to this year they now play on this side of the state line as we were getting burnt out on the driving, team at her age group already had 2 keepers on each the A and B team and even looking at playing up those team were filled with keepers so now she is not getting as much experience. Meanwhile I’m getting calls from clubs on the other side begging her to come over cause they are in the same situation with kids playing keeper by committee
  4. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I've thought lately about whether there might be a keeper hidden on one of the smaller clubs around us (we're at the biggest club in a fairly small area), but recruiting them away would be tough. The smaller clubs around us are usually town-specific, with most players playing together from the time they start all the way through high school.

    Another dad here told me this week that the high school where my son is headed is in a similar position after this year (good keeper graduating and headed to a DI program). The JV keeper is a kid who has always been a forward. The coach apparently picked him based on height and he has no idea how to play the position (and I suspect he's getting zero meaningful training).

    I get the concern that if you're the starter keeper is great for playing time and if not, it can be terrible. I wonder if part of the problem might also be those years as younger players when mouthy kids yell at the keeper any time a ball goes in the net. Coaching rec years ago, I remember every kid wanted to be keeper in practice, but in games almost no one did.
  5. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    I think it is hit or miss.

    My older daughter had two keepers - she was one of them and loved it enough to play for the NPL team and play for the Naperville team which had none.

    My youngest daughter's team has one keeper.

    Her old team has 3 keepers - one plays up on the 2004 joining their one keeper.

    Their 2005 DA team has still yet to secure a keeper - which is quite shocking.
  6. TheKraken

    TheKraken Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Jun 21, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think this happens a lot. We see the best keepers on some of the worst teams. My theory is they get more practice blocking shots than the goalies on better teams.
  7. Zag Chef

    Zag Chef New Member

    United States
    Dec 20, 2017
    Yep always drove my daughter crazy that in practice scrimmages everyone volunteers and it would keep her from getting experience of taking risk with her sweeps and playing with her feet, and yes takes a lot of mental toughness to get through those younger years of making mistakes, I used to sit on the 18 and switch sides at half just to shout out constant encouragement during those years, finally at the point where I sit right on the halfway line and don’t say a word:)
    CornfieldSoccer and Dirt McGirt repped this.
  8. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'd prefer to see the coach (and none of my son's club coaches have ever done this) make sure the true keepers (or at least the members of the committee handling keeper duties) get the keeper time in practices. Particularly past u12 or u13. Even now at u14/15, the few times I catch a little of one of his practices, the keeper spots are being manned by kids who never play keeper in games.
  9. Geauxlden

    Geauxlden New Member

    Manchester United
    United States
    Apr 30, 2017
    My son is the only "full-time" keeper for the two U-11 teams that his club fields in our area. There are a couple of kids who also rotate on one of the teams. The local branch of his club is still fairly young but I don't think the age groups right above and just below his have more than 1 kid that actually attends formal GK training.

    I love that he gets to play every game but it would be nice for him to see some time in the field, if for no other reasons than conditioning and being able to take what he sees on the back end and being able to apply it elsewhere.

Share This Page