Goalkeeper Shortage

Discussion in 'GOALKEEPER Forum' started by timbuck, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. timbuck

    timbuck

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    I've seen a lot of postings lately for teams looking for a goalkeeper. Here and on social media.
    Sort of common to see this at the younger ages, since it's hard to find enough kids under the age of 10 to play GK full time.
    But I've noticed a trend of older teams desperately looking for a GK. Injury and relocation seem to be the culprit.
    Or have we reached a point where there are too many teams and not enough GKs out there now?
    If you are a parent of a GK - will your player be playing 2 games at your club every Saturday? (and Sunday when scheduled).
    Based on this apparent shortage, I'd also guess that some teams will be using the GK from a younger age group as well.
     
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  2. Dargle

    Dargle Bronze

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    I don't know how they've been doing it in SCDSL, but the change in the CSL rules to allow players to guest play on another team within the club as long as that team is at a higher level has definitely opened up some opportunities for GKs. Clubs can legitimately offer the GK who is second best in the age group the chance to play regularly for their own team, while still potentially getting called up to the higher level team for spot start opportunities when the first team GK is unavailable. It also reduces some of the pressure to carry two goalkeepers on the top team.

    As for the causes of the shortage, one factor at least on the boys side is the proliferation of DA clubs. There are kids who will take backup GK spots on a DA team that would have been regular starters on many club teams. Moreover, not only did they open up DA at the U12 level last year, which pushed some GKs to DA at an age when there isn't an overabundance of full-time GKs yet anyway, but this year they increased the number of U13 DA clubs/teams.
     
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  3. timbuck

    timbuck

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    Scdsl allows gks to play two games per day as long as it is the same or older age group. Flights or tiers don’t matter.
    A gk could play 1/2 in goal and half on the field in the 1st game of the day. But must play in goal or sit the bench for the 2nd game. IE- no field play is allowed. Not sure how they track it unless someone complains. (Which is the same for other field players. Not really tracked until a complain and investigation)
     
  4. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    Not scientific at all and purely based on observations of the soccer announcement boards and the announcements here, it seems the GK shortage is more pronounced with the girls than with the boys. With the boys it doesn't seem to get to be a problem until the DA ages and then mostly at the higher levels, perhaps for the reasons Dargle pointed out. The girls, by contrast, are constantly advertising even at the younger ages (I just saw one up for a 2009 FT girls keeper...FT o_O). Again anecdotally, but for the boys it seems that until the higher levels, the coaches can generally find a larger boy (who may not necessarily get a whole lot of playing time on field due to speed) to put between the sticks...give him a lot of attention, a special shirt, a little bit of training and problem usually considered solved. Besides, given goal sizes and that most younger goalkeepers aren't taught (and shouldn't be expected to perform) the extension dive, there's only so much the boys keepers can do at that age (particularly considering that by boys U10 even the median of bronze clubs teams can regularly hit it into goal in the air and not always straight to the keeper), the most important factor for many coaches in a boy's keeper is their distribution.
     
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  5. Mystery Train

    Mystery Train Silver Elite

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    I've watched the ebb and flow of youth keeper populations over the past 5-6 years, and noticed a few trends (mostly in the girls side, but may apply to boys as well).

    Just looking at the whole youth player population, there's definitely a drop off in full-time participation right about U15. Because keepers are already smaller population, that drop off is even more noticeable. For example, if a club fields 2 teams at an age group with 32 players (16 players each including one GK each) but the next year 6 kids drop out of soccer, you could still field two teams of 13 each, but if one of those 6 players was a keeper, the second team is screwed. That creates the first shortage.

    The second factor impacting the older kids is, as you mention, injury. The collisions get bigger as the players get bigger and concussion awareness nowadays means that you don't just bring your kid back to play next week after they got their "bell rung." So the older keeper population gets an additional thinning agent there, too.

    One thing I noticed on the girls' side is what I called the Hope Solo effect. She, for better or worse, had a period of about 5-6 years where she was a true celebrity, arguably the most well recognizable US soccer player, men's or women's. This was right after my DD started playing keeper. Around that time, I noticed a big increase in the number of girls trying out as keepers. That was an artificial bubble, however. Not sustainable or repeatable.

    The biggest factor I see in creating a GK shortage is an inability of clubs and coaches to manage the development of their young goalkeepers to the point that they want to keep playing as they get older. I've been continually shocked to watch club coaches completely mis-handle the coaching of GK's. And some of these guys are very established, very respected coaches, successful coaches. What I realized is that 99% of them are field player coaches. The extent of their coaching for a GK is "Nice save!" or "You need to make that play!" And that's pretty much it. I would reckon that the majority of GK parents (if you've watched your kid for more than 3 seasons) know more about the ins and outs of the position than the majority of club coaches. My DD has had several coaches who are so hands off about the position, that when she asked them for guidance, they just defer to the club GK coach. The club GK coach on the other hand, can teach all the technique drills in the world, but they will tell you that to integrate your keeper with the defense you need the head coach to do that, so they take a very hands-off approach to teaching tactics. This disconnect means that keepers as a whole are woe-fully under taught, and coaches take the easy way out by recruiting the most athletic kid they can find to play keeper and rely on the kid's natural ability to bail them out. Problem is, these kids generally play other sports, too. Because they are super athletic.

    In short, because too many youth coaches/clubs/parents are concerned with winning games, and you can win youngers games with a big early-puberty monster in the net with no training, they invest their time in the areas where it makes a difference in the W/L column. Developing a keeper from scratch is a long, long, slow process and not worth the investment in time for a coach who just needs to finish near the top of the table to keep his team together and not get canned by his DoC.

    That's my rant...

    But to answer your question, yes. We have too many teams at this point. Unless youngers coaches and clubs will take a step back and re-work how they handle the position, this won't change.
     
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  6. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    This is soooo true. But I also think it's a function that so many American (and British imports) also place such a high value on offense. Even at some of the intermediate/higher level soccer camps my son attended this summer, a lot of the emphasis seems to be on offense.

    But in any case, if anyone is looking for this type of training, just a reminder that Ian Feuer's last soccer camp of the summer is coming up August 6-9. It's expensive, particularly when you only get 2 hours and change of training and only part of that is in goal, but this is exactly the kind of stuff his camp touches on....game like scenarios that coaches should be doing in practice with their GKs and defenders but don't usually. At the last camp he covered day 1 shot stopping and back pass tactics, day 2 defending against corners and crosses, day 3 one v one and distribution, day 4 review. It's my son's favorite of the camps my son attended and the one he says he learned the most from.
     
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  7. MyDaughtersAKeeper

    MyDaughtersAKeeper

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    Correct. My daughter did this last year for a few games when the '03 goalie for the club's top team went down due to an injury. It does still wear them out; I believe more mentally than physically. It was a good experience and we are both glad she did it, but don't downplay the stress the kid will be under. Good luck to you and your keeper.
     
  8. timbuck

    timbuck

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    Seems a club either has too many or not enough.
    2 local high schools.
    Incoming freshman girls at school A has 2 or 3 keepers.
    School b - a few miles away doesn’t have anyone with recent experience.
     
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  9. pewpew

    pewpew Silver

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    5 teams posting in this sub-forum alone are looking for a G03 goalkeeper...what does that tell you.o_O
     
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  10. timbuck

    timbuck

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    It’s grest to be able to find a 10 year old full time keeper. But somewhat rare.
    Up until maybe u13- I think teams should have least 2 players splitting time. If you have 2 that are willing/able- great.
    If you only have 1- have her play 1/2 in goal and rotate a few others.
    That way you at least have some additional players that have at least tried it out and aren’t scared to death in the event they are needed.
     
  11. Eagle33

    Eagle33 Silver

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    The biggest drop out of keepers at older age group is HS sports. Once they get to HS, they discover sports that they never heard about and finding out that they are actually good at some of them. Many also getting older/smarter and start realizing that they will not be next Tim Howard or Hope Solo.
     
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  12. espola

    espola Silver Elite

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    My older son wanted to be a keeper from about age 8 or so. He was never on a club team where he was the primary keeper, but he also good on the field, so his usual role was as a backup keeper, or alternating with the other keeper in two-game-a-day tournaments. He got into 2 games with his high school team, coming in to relieve the Senior keeper when he was hurt or having a bad day, and two games at Gothia Cup when the team's starter arrived late because he was at a family event on Sunday.

    On the other hand, the younger son filled in at keeper in a practice scrimmage and broke his thumb.
     
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  13. mulliganmom

    mulliganmom Bronze

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    Depends on the club and geographic area it seems. Also what age/grade you are in at school. There were 4 keepers in my DDs HS summer camp that were incoming freshman (03/04). My understanding is there are is on sophomore and one junior who are keepers. No seniors. That also speaks to aging out or leaving the sport as well. And, of course, this is just HS, but gives you an idea.
     
  14. timbuck

    timbuck

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    Bumping this back up for the new year. Is it ok to bump your own post?
    Seems to be even more teams looking for goalkeepers now than last year.
    Good luck!
     
  15. socalkdg

    socalkdg Silver

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    I’ve watched so many games the last couple months where coaches don’t let their keepers take goal kicks and never play back to the keeper. Both boys and girls. I’m pretty sure my daughter wouldn’t want to play keeper for many of these coaches.

    I also wonder how many of these boys and girls wanted to play keeper when they were younger and how many were put there because they were big and slow. Or the parents and coaches that blame the keeper for goals and losses. Maybe they just don’t want to play it anymore.
     
  16. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    On the boys side this is definitely true. At the younger ages (8, 9, 10) it's the bigger kids that tend to be put there (because they can block more of the goal, aren't afraid to dive in there for lose balls and can't keep up with the running on the field). By 12, these keepers are beginning to get weeded out. By high school, they simply don't have the athleticism required for the jumps, the power for the low dives, or the speed required for the footwork to keep up. The superathletic boys (usually with a baseball cross over) also begin to leave the position because they know the keeper slot is a no win proposition (either you are bored or getting blamed for the loss usually) while on the field they can make an impact without so much of the pressure and stay in it throughout the game (instead of in drips and drabs).
     
  17. Jake Theil

    Jake Theil Bronze

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    I will add some perspective from our own experience. Son has played as a keeper since he was 9. His choice as we tried to keep him away from the position particularly early on. He has played in over 250 games never missing a game (iron man). He has played through injuries that include dislocated elbow, torn rib cartridge, countless strains, sprains and fractures to the hand and the craziness of growing pains. He never once complained or failed to put himself on the field to help the teams with whom he shared the pitch. Keeper training in large part is not available at the club level and that includes DA. Lining a kid up and doing pepper drills is not keeper training.
    Just watch the warm ups for the keeper at the start of a game and you will get an idea of whats what. So off the keepers going doing an additional day of training. All this amounts to this, it takes a special kind of person to line up between the sticks. The meek need not apply! If you find one that is smart enough and willing develop them. I wouldn't change his decision at 9 for anything today although is was fun seeing him play as striker before then. Applause for the keepers!
     
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  18. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    Best GK line ever!!! Of course the issue is that most coaches either don't know how or don't want to make the effort to develop them. They are looking at the short term outcome of the season, not the long term player development. I think it was Howard that said the reason why the US is able to develop worldclass keepers is (despite all the problems at the youth soccer level) that we have a lot of players that come from other handling sports (basketball/baseball/football receivers). But the issue is that the goalkeeper position has changed so much at the highest levels, and the ball is so light and moving so fast, that this advantage is going to disappear.
     
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  19. Mystery Train

    Mystery Train Silver Elite

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    From what I understand, keeper shortages are a near constant in youth soccer, year in and year out and this has been the case ever since the explosion of club soccer in the early 2000's. Probably even before that.

    From my observations (mostly from the girls side), it seems the biggest shortage is in the late youngers and early olders levels, between the ages of 11-15. Not surprisingly, these are the ages with the biggest glut of competitive teams. It's a numbers game. Just a pure guess, but I think out of 50 randomly selected soccer-loving 10 year olds, you'll find less than 10 that like the idea of playing keeper full time. Of that group, you'd be lucky to have even 1 or at best 2 that are cut out both mentally and physically for the job at 10 or 11 years old. That means that there's going to be a lot of young keepers who are either being forced to play the position out of necessity, or who aren't given the opportunities or support and training needed to develop (because they are late bloomers or "small" or not great natural athletes). So as those kids get older, they leave the sport altogether because who wants all that abuse with so little reward?!

    As the kids get older and the participation numbers drop across all players, the older teams (U17-19) that are lower level end up folding or disintegrating, meaning that those keepers who stick with it end up playing for higher level teams eventually and the number of teams looking for keepers drops because there are simply fewer of them competing at all by junior year in HS.

    The other thing I noticed was "The Solo Effect." For a few years when my kid was just starting in club soccer, Hope Solo was a legitimate celebrity and there seemed to be way more girls willing to get in the cage than before. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that she made the position seem more glamorous and some of the better athletes that in eras past would have played in the field early on actually ended up playing keeper. Maybe Tim Howard's heroics in the World Cup in Brazil could have had a similar effect across both genders, but he never had the high profile public image and endorsements that Solo had. Nothing against Ashlyn Harris or Alyssa Naeher, who are probably far better citizens than Hope Solo, but neither one of them are creating any magnetism towards being a GK. Even on the male side, there's only one or two keepers at any given moment who have the magnetism to inspire youth players to look at the GK position with any glamour (Neuer being the only present one that really comes to mind).
     
  20. Mystery Train

    Mystery Train Silver Elite

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    Sorry... I realized I just repeated almost the exact same response I gave last year when you posted this thread. lol
     

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