What Is a Goalkeeper In Soccer? Understanding The Position

door husband, goalkeeper, keeper-606228.jpg

What Is a Goalkeeper In Soccer?

Goalkeeping is an essential position in soccer and can make or break a team’s success. As the last line of defense, they are responsible for keeping the ball out of their team’s net. They must be agile, alert, and capable of making quick decisions to succeed and keep their team in the game.

Let’s take a closer look at what a goalkeeper is and what makes someone great at the position.

The Role of the Goalkeeper 

The role of the goalkeeper is to protect their team’s goal from being scored on by the opposing team. They should be able to anticipate where the ball will go and move quickly to make sure it does not enter their goal. This means they need to have excellent reflexes, good spatial awareness, and the ability to think quickly under pressure.

Effective communication between other players on their team is also key for a goalkeeper’s success—they must be able to direct their teammates on where to place themselves for optimal defense and give clear instructions about when and how long to mark an opposing player. 

What Are The Goalkeeper’s Responsibilities?

Communicating With Defenders: The goalkeeper is the defense and must be able to communicate with their teammates. They will often be shouting instructions and encouragement from the back.

Organizing The Defense: The goalkeeper needs to be aware of where all the are and act accordingly. This involves organizing set pieces such as corners and free-kicks and ensuring everyone is in the right position during open play.

Making Quick Decisions: The goalkeeper is often the player with the best view of the entire pitch. They need to be able to make quick decisions about where to direct their defenders and when to come off their line.

Stopping Shots: They need to have quick reflexes and be able to dive full stretch to make a save. They also need to be good at reading the game to know which way the ball will be struck.

Attributes of a Goalkeeper

In addition to having excellent physical skills, goalkeepers must possess certain mental qualities to excel at this position. They should have a competitive spirit and a desire to win; they must also possess the confidence necessary to take charge and communicate effectively with other players.

Furthermore, they should have strong leadership skills to motivate their teammates when times get tough. They must also remain composed even during difficult moments on the field; this requires incredible mental toughness.

Can a Soccer Goalkeeper Use Their Hands?

A soccer goalie can use their hands to catch, save or deflect the ball within their own penalty area. However, they cannot use their hands to touch the ball outside the penalty area, resulting in a handball infringement and a direct free kick awarded to the opposing team.

If a goalie picks up or controls the ball with their hands inside their own penalty area, they must release it within six seconds or risk being penalized.

How To Become a Better Soccer Goalkeeper

Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you play, the better you’ll become. Practice with both feet, so you’re equally comfortable using either.

Work on Your Speed & Agility: As a goalkeeper, you need to be able to move quickly and change directions quickly. Agility drills will help you with this.

Stay Focused During The Game: It’s easy to let your mind wander when there’s not much happening on the field. But you need to be ready for anything, so you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball for even a second.

Be Vocal: As the last line of defense, you must communicate with your defenders and let them know what’s happening on the field. If you see something that they don’t, make sure to tell them.

Stay Calm Under Pressure: Soccer can be a very exciting and emotional game. But as a goalkeeper, you must keep your cool no matter what’s happening on the field. If you let emotions get the better of you, it will affect your play.


Goalkeeping is an essential position in soccer that involves more than just physical skill—it also requires mental strength. Goalkeepers need agility, reflexes, spatial awareness, communication skills, leadership qualities, confidence under pressure, and composure during difficult moments on the field for them to succeed in this position.

Without these attributes combined with strong physical abilities, it would be impossible for any player (or team) to achieve victory without them.