Head to any playground or park and you will probably find a group of children arguing about who is going to be the goalie. Ask any young child which position they want to play and the majority will probably say striker instead of goalkeeper. Despite being one of the most important members of the team, the goalkeeper is frequently underappreciated. Let’s take a look at why.
Last Line of Defence
When a forward has got past the defenders, the only thing left between them and the goal is the goalkeeper. Football fans have a long memory for poor saves and they will always bring them up when critiquing players. A forward who took a ridiculously bad shot will be forgiven whereas a goalie who failed to save a crucial goal will go down as the person who lost the match, if they are not careful.
The Second Coach
The goalkeeper is the only player who has the view of the whole pitch. For this reason, the goalkeeper is frequently referred to as the second coach. They are the ones responsible for the strategy of the team. When you see a goalie shouting at their teammates, they are giving them directions and changing the strategy of the game.
This is even more amazing when you consider the number of players who go to play for foreign teams. You could potentially end up with a goalkeeper and a player, each with their own mother-tongue, needing to communicate in English. To be able to do so in the middle of something as intense as a football match shows the intelligence and quick-thinking goalkeepers need to have.
Click a hall of fame for any of football’s heroes and you will probably be confronted by a statistic over how many goals they made. Why is this necessary for goalkeepers? Why can it not be how many goals saved? Take, for example, Arsenal’s legendary goalkeeper David Seaman. In 564 appearances, he didn’t score a single goal. How many did he save? The stats don’t tell us.
Why not head to your favourite sport betting site and see if you can place a bet on how many goals the goalkeeper could save. I’m certainly sure it would be a very different outcome than the usual bets of who will score first or whether a hat-trick will be made.
Lack of Recognition
The Ballon d’Or is one of the most prestigious trophies in football. Want to know how many goalkeepers have won it? One.
That’s right, the only goalkeeper ever to win this award was Lev Yashin in 1963. It is slightly ridiculous, especially when we can fondly remember the careers of other goalkeepers and their best saves.
It is high time that goalkeepers got the recognition they deserve. They are one of the smartest and most adaptable players on the field; unafraid to literally throw their bodies to the ground to save the ball. We should praise them just as much as we praise some of the great forwards and midfielders, as without them, it would be a very different game.