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How To Find a Soccer Goalie: Look For the Crazy One

Excerpt From my new eBook…

Picking Your Soccer Team: Your Dream Team is Another Coach’s Nightmare

How To Find a Soccer Goalie: Look For the Crazy One

How does a human being decide that having knees, cleats, and balls hurled at their head is a solid life decision? I’m not sure.
We should be on the lookout for psychologically-disturbed goalies, always. The crazier the goalie, the better.
It’s hard to find “real” crazy , and it’s even harder to keep up with them. This is why we separate them from the pack by keeping them in their own box.

How do we sniff them out? First, learn the symptoms.

There will be plenty of show-offs at your team tryouts. You’ll see dudes doing back flips (offenders), players shoving other kids to the ground and laughing over their crumpled bodies (defenders), then there’s the bug-eater. Not in a “Hey guys, look at me, I’m eating a bug” type either (still an offensive player), but more of the “keeps bugs in his pocket just in case, he gets the munchies” type.

This kid’s been catching grasshoppers since he was three. So, he doesn’t care to get blood on his kneecaps. He also doesn’t mind biting Jiminy Cricket’s face off. Both are desirable qualities for a goalie, or the villain in a psychological thriller.

Yes, it’s intimidating to watch a small boy devour a sack of crickets, but you must put this kid on your team. Sure, he’s not right in the head, and he might act strange around the dog, but those qualities are why we need him in the goal.

Your dream goalie doesn’t care for his face.

You’re looking for fearless. You are seeking a child who is “mental”-ly prepared to throw his face into the onslaught of hungry feet whose only purpose for swinging is to score a goal in hopes of sufficing their parent’s long-dashed dreams of not being a loser. (Give it up old man, it’s over.)
So, you need an American Football player. He understands like no other the trouble of seeking a father’s love. He won’t mind stripping away any paternal relationship opportunities from the kid trying to score on him either. Be warned, before you jump out and draft the first person at tryouts wearing an Alabama jersey, let’s consider things.
Like most soccer players, not every (American) football player has what it takes to be a goalie. Be strategic. We’re only looking for a few specific football positions.
First, if we can help it, no field-goal kickers. Yes, soccer players make great field-goal kickers, but it isn’t a clean switch from football to soccer. I can hear it now, “But coach!? We need a goalie that can slam the ball clear across the half-line, Right?”
My (uninformed) answer, “Not as much as we need one who stops shots.”
Most of the time, your goalie will get to boom it across the field only after he’s blocked a shot. So, by default, we need somebody who can block over someone who can kick hard. We would rather have a field-goal blocker than the kicker. Field goal kickers can go soft too. There are too many rules protecting them in football. Your goalie won’t be as lucky.
The next position on the football team to weed out, whiny quarterbacks. Sure they can pass like Peyton Manning, but then they get the big-head. This gets them concerned with preserving their face. Real goalies don’t waste time “saving face”. (Now, I realize that goalies get to throw the ball to the other players, but we shouldn’t rely on this ability when choosing soccer players.

If we do, we’ll then try to pick baseball players. Don’t fall for their throwing accuracy either.

Baseball players bring in baseball moms. And we don’t need this kind of redneck-ary in our life.

So, let’s stick to overlooking quarterbacks and baseball players. You’ve been warned.)
When in the hunt for a goalie, we’re interested in two specific job-titles from American football: defensive-ends and safeties. When looking at the positions with the end need in mind, these guys’ day jobs are trying to sack the quarterback and trying to intercept a “football”. It so happens, we need a person who can push through a crowd and secure a loose football too. We need children experienced in diving head-first through a forest of cleated legs. We should seek athletes accustomed to catching or deflecting indirectly passed balls from the air.
Football isn’t the only outlet for potential goalies. You could search for aggressive volleyball players, paintballers, and rodeo clowns (Deep in your heart the last option makes so much sense but feels so wrong).
The key takeaway: put a stupid-tough kid on the goal. The last thing you want as a coach is a child concerned for his personal safety and well-being.

Positive Character Traits

  • The “best” goalies share many of the same physical and mental attributes. Top-notch goalies need quick reaction times. An easy way to test this quality is to gauge their comeback abilities when you correct their behavior. A decent goalie can make up a good excuse in under 0.23 seconds. Excuses faster than 0.19 seconds is a full-ride through law school, but slower than 0.5 seconds just won’t cut it in today’s soccer atmosphere. As coaches, We need goalies thinking on their feet while making up an excuse for why the defense is sucking at life.
  • During tryouts, keep an eye out for any kid wearing a Bon Jovi T-shirt. The band wrote plenty of songs praising recklessness.
  • A player who doesn’t care to have a face is the prime candidate for the goalie.
  • It’s important a coach doesn’t lose his voice during the season. A goalie who loves to scream at others will come in handy if your voice cracks. So, when your defense is letting balls slip through, you’ll be able to outsource chewing them to your more-than-willing goalie.*

***Warning***: You’ll want to ask for the child’s experience level with using obscenities. This ensures he’s not getting kicked out of games for calling his center-back out for how obese his mother is, especially if they’re brothers.

Unimportant Qualities for Your Goalie

  • Bad Cardio: Who cares if he gets tired after running for 20 seconds. Maybe it’ll keep him from straying too far away from the goal.
  • Asthma: “Sorry kid, need you in the goal. Don’t want you to crap out on me.”
  • Low Self-Esteem: If your goalie doesn’t have low self esteem, he may lose what little self-confidence he has soon enough. A person can only hear “It’s ok buddy Mommy still loves you” so many times before wanting to crawl under a bus.

Study Resources:
Dennis Hopper’s Character in Silence of the Lambs
Edward Norton or Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Be The Fun Coach That Wins!

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Nate Ballew

Father of four boys, married to one wife, coaching enthusiast, and fiction/non-fiction author.

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