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Where have all the keepers gone?

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Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by GotNoGame on 6/15/2016, 6:10 pm

Is it just me, or do the 02 and 03 boys age groups have a dearth of goalkeepers? It seems like more teams than usual are reporting that they "need a goalkeeper." Anyone have any thoughts/insight on why? Are goalkeepers in these age groups "dropping out" of soccer altogether or moving to other positions? Are teams trying to carry two goalkeepers instead of one? Are coaches setting higher expectations for their goalkeepers and not being able to find any players able to fulfill those expectations? Just curious . . .

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by Soccer27 on 6/15/2016, 7:18 pm

Goalkeepers are a specialized position. Coaches can not train goalkeepers like they can field players. This causes goalkeepers to go find extra training costing extra money. As a goalkeeper parent it's more stressful than for field player. You can put anyone in the box but at a competitive level you need a trained goalkeeper that can Comand the field and communicate to the team. Many keepers at this age have not mastered that. High level keepers have mastered that part of the game. You also have to know your angles and work on your footwork. The top goalkeepers have moved to DA and top 5 D1 teams. It's a make and break position for any team to compete.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/15/2016, 7:28 pm

PA/DA has definitely been a factor, as well as school sports / other sports (a top level keeper must be athletic, and probably gained some of their skill from the challenges of other sports where you can use your hands and tackle people)... The position is arguably the most important, however there are many teams who fail to train their netminder properly... Not sure where they went, but one thing is for sure: If you don't have a good keeper, you better be able to score!
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by MessiFan6 on 6/15/2016, 9:21 pm

I was thinking the same thing. I see tons of posts on both forums. Has football, basketball, and baseball claimed all the keepers? Have they gotten tired of playing defense and turned into positional players? Or have the big guys that didn't want to run that who were converted into keepers discover the newest FIFA PS4 or Xbox game is easier? The good keepers keep playing and those that don't put in the extra work, don't progress against harder and harder shots.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by GotNoGame on 6/16/2016, 8:13 am

Thanks guys, great comments, especially hanallalone's comment about other sports competing with soccer.  Maybe at this age coaches (in general -- not all) start to frown upon their players playing other sports, and some kids just want to play school sports with their friends.  Do coaches in NTX also buy into the idea that 02/03 goalkeepers need to already be 6 feet tall?  If that's the case, they may be passing over smaller goalkeepers and waiting for the "tall kid" to show up to tryouts.  I'd be curious to know more about the effect that PA/DA are having on the availability of good goalkeepers, because I think FCD only carries 1, I guess Solar had 2 -- how many do the Texans have?  Soccer27, good luck to you and your son!

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by Soccer27 on 6/16/2016, 9:14 am

I think every coach would love the 6 ft 12/13 year old keeper. But in reality not many out there. Kids at this age haven't really hit their growth spurt. So in order to make up for height keepers have to make it up in other parts of their game. Seeing the whole field and plays develop before they happen. Being a strong vocal keeper plays a major role. If a keeper Can comminicate to his players he will be able to avoid or limit the high balls.
I don't know how many each club carries but won't be surprised if each one carries 2 keepers. They can also bring up keepers from their D1 teams
With the low number of competitive keepers I'm sure coaches are doing their best to making sure they keep the good ones.
@gotnogame thanks you

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 9:17 am

I have a keeper who gave up everything but track (he is a sprinter) to concentrate on goalkeeping... It was a difficult decision to make; he played quarterback for his MS team, but IMO it was a good one... As you pointed out, most teams have 1 keeper, so you don't want your GK getting injured playing another sport... Goalkeepers are a different breed, and tend to hang on to stats much like baseball players do... When asked if he would like to come out of the net and play the field in games where we are up multiple goals, he responded: "NO; what if they score on us?"... You have to keep in mind that he was a field player until last Fall, and he STILL does not want anyone other than him to be responsible for that Goals Against stat line... That's the mentality of a competitive goalkeeper, and maybe that is why there is a shortage; that kind of dedication is rare... As for the sub 6' thing, I think some coaches care, while others are willing to let them grow into what they hope will be a good sized keeper... The main factor to determining a goalkeeper is the ability to anticipate and then act without fear... It may look like an easy position, but the pressure is thick, they stakes are high, and you're in the spotlight through great saves and mistakes... Your average person would be crazy to sign up willingly to be put in the pressure cooker 24-7, but then again, goalkeepers tend to be a bit crazy...
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by Soccer27 on 6/16/2016, 9:46 am

Hanallalone.... Very true ....good points. Anyone who wants to have balls blasted at them and have a split second to react or diving at the feet of a big forward running at you to make the game winning save has to be a bit insane

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by GKDad1 on 6/16/2016, 10:29 am

As a parent of an '02 GK, a lot of this discussion rings very true. We passed up the opportunity last year to join a PA team so that our BB could be a 7th grader - play football and soccer, run track, participate in theater, etc. I suspect a lot of boys in general desire the same. There was no way he was going to be able to play PA and have fun with these other activities. This season, the complete opposite is true. He'll be part of a DA team and is thus giving up all these other activities to focus on soccer.
I would say that some clubs do a really nice job of developing keepers. Training opportunities with experienced keeper coaches twice a week were the norm. I can attest to the benefit of that if there's a desire to continue developing skills and reach higher levels.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by muc03b on 6/16/2016, 11:22 am

I have an 03GK and I have seen all of this happen this summer. We had an opportunity to play PA this year but BB decided he wanted to play school sports another year as some injuries last year prevented him from playing some of the sports. We saw the "not tall enough" situation and is it fair? Maybe, maybe not. Win at all costs I guess. At times you see some technical aspects being ignored because the tall GK just "can't get back up fast enough" so he compromises technique. But the top teams salivate at the height and snatch kids up if they continue to go to the open practices and may have regrets down the road. My BB's height hasn't quite caught up with his size 10 hands and sz 13 cleats. Oh well. Another year of CL D1 won't hurt and if the PA/DA opportunity arise down the road, great and we'll see where we stand. I have seen/been in contact with multiple D1 teams looking and surprised that some D2 and lower division GKs aren't flocking to these teams/clubs.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 12:29 pm

Damn, 10 gloves and 13 boots, yet he is not tall enough? Either the people who say he is too small are CRAZY, or he should be a professional swimmer with those flippers! How tall is he?
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by muc03b on 6/16/2016, 12:35 pm

hanallalone wrote:Damn, 10 gloves and 13 boots, yet he is not tall enough?  Either the people who say he is too small are CRAZY, or he should be a professional swimmer with those flippers!  How tall is he?

He's 5'5" and just turned 13 last month. His older brother didn't hit his spurt until late into his 13yr and continued on from there but he's just as tall as his 15yr old brother almost. When he broke his wrist back in January against FCD El Paso U16..I mean U13 Laughing the doctor said he still has a ton of room in his growth plates and hasn't come close to starting to hit his spurt.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by Stinky on 6/16/2016, 12:47 pm

I have an 04 keeper that trains daily and dedicated to the game. Gets comments all the time from other teams coaches. Crazy agressive, vocal, positions well and knows when to attack. Played D1 Classic last year and is trained well.  He is shorter than most and have had a few coaches really like is work but it always keeps coming back to his height on making teams. He will challenge all comers. I don't know why the think just slapping a 5ft. 10 keeper that's slow and and positions poorly is going to work.  Confused

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 12:57 pm

Those are some big feet! Mine is wearing size 10s, and his hands are almost as big as mine already although he is 5' 7"... He is a Sept birthday, but he is a late bloomer that the doctor says will be larger than me by next year (when he starts to really grow)... The height thing is less of a factor if the player works on their leaping ability and timing their jumps, so as long as these keepers in the making possess the right mindset to play the position they should be fine transitioning into their larger bodies that are just around the corner... Mine works on leaping every day, and is starting to really enjoy the preparation that it takes to do the job... He REALLY does not like to ball to find his net, and for me that is something I wanted to see from him when he transitioned from field player to keeper last year... Being a keepers parent is a completely different feeling, but it sure is fun to see him compete... Good luck!
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 1:03 pm

Stinky wrote:I have an 04 keeper that trains daily and dedicated to the game. Gets comments all the time from other teams coaches. Crazy agressive, vocal, positions well and knows when to attack. Played D1 Classic last year and is trained well.  He is shorter than most and have had a few coaches really like is work but it always keeps coming back to his height on making teams. He will challenge all comers. I don't know why the think just slapping a 5ft. 10 keeper that's slow and and positions poorly is going to work.  Confused

The coaches who ONLY focus on height are messing up IMO, but if they train the Goliath well they might hit paydirt... However, if the player is even remotely timid it is a complete waste of time; a keeper can't hesitate, close his eyes, turn his head, or back off... It is the true gladiator position, and those who do not have the "IT" factor are easy to spot...
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by JogaBonitoTX on 6/16/2016, 1:10 pm

Thanks for this post. Keeper's dad here as well. There seems to be a shortage of keepers at the 05 and 06 levels. I assumed we would see more folks becoming keepers in the coming years, coming in from other sports, rather than losing some good ones to other sports.

On height, we still have a lot of smaller keepers. Was it once the boys went to full size goals that the coaches preference for height kicked in? With the new AP rules and smaller fields/goals, that will give boys more time in the smaller goals and a chance to grow.

Looking at the BPL, it looks like the prototypical keeper has gotten taller over the last 20 years. A lot of those guys are huge. This link is a year old, but has the height of each BPL teams #1 and #2 keepers. 40 players, nobody less than 6 feet tall, only 5 that are just 6 feet tall (and they're all subs), starters probably average 6'4" or 6'5".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3173364/Chelsea-goalkeepers-Thibaut-Courtois-Asmir-Begovic-goal-tallest-stoppers-league.html

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 1:23 pm

The same can be said for national teams winning %... Size is a huge factor, and the last time I looked it up (2010 World Cup), the majority of the top teams were also at the top of the height list... At that time, Argentina was the 2nd smallest team and pretty much the lone exception to the data available at that time... Anyhow, 6' seems to be the standard starting point at the professional level, with the advantage going to those 6'2" and above... Seems right for pros, but these are still kids... Mine is supposed to be big, but until he is, who knows...
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by GotNoGame on 6/16/2016, 1:27 pm

I'm glad I started a great discussion! I don't have a "vested interest," but the comments are really interesting. Does anyone have a thought on the effect smaller goals have on the younger goalkeepers (any hidden wish that your player might have been given more time in a smaller goal so height wasn't such a deciding factor)? Also, for the folks who have already been selected for a team (PA/DA/D1/etc.), are you seeing your academy/team carrying two (or more) goalkeepers? Who's hoarding?

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by JogaBonitoTX on 6/16/2016, 1:35 pm

hanallalone wrote:Seems right for pros, but these are still kids...

Interesting info on the entire team getting taller. Reminds me of us playing Germany back in the 2002 World Cup. They towered over us.

On "seems right for the pros, but these are kids..." It seems kind of normal to me, whether it is right or not. American coaches tend to look at young athletes as prospects, at least to some degree. Would we have select basketball or volleyball teams that don't favor height? Or high school quarterbacks? They're all still kids and they're tall enough to get the job done today, yet the coaches clearly favor height/size.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 3:40 pm

They might not all be as big as Germany's Manuel Neuer, but we need to strive to teach them to play like he does...
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by soccerdad06 on 6/16/2016, 5:38 pm

They are all playing ice hockey Smile

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by PremierLeagueFan on 6/16/2016, 6:25 pm

I don't think size is the deciding factor for the top teams as much as people think. Right now it's all about skill and a normal sized GK that is labeled as short is probably the most effective GK out on the pitch.  To survive they are all becoming experts at staying in their line of play and are getting more aggressive as they attack the offense to narrow their shot angles.

Speed, agility and coordination are also very important and most taller GK's are still trying to catch up which puts them at a disadvantage.

I watched 7 top level GK's last week and they looked like mini pro players. Every quality GK ran the same drills and executed the same calls and frankly looked like they were all in the same training program.

The last thing an attacker would be thinking of with these GK's is their size. These GK's are game changers and any team that has them on their roster certainly knows it.


Last edited by PremierLeagueFan on 6/17/2016, 8:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/16/2016, 6:33 pm

I agree... It may be different in other age brackets, but for the 01-03 BY teams, the keepers who are getting it done come in all sizes...
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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by acemccloud75 on 6/16/2016, 8:17 pm

As the parent of a 04 D1 GK I agree it is about the player. I have seen a lot of GKs lately playing around and not impressed with what I seen. It is the GK who takes the job serious enough to train on there own. It is the parent that takes the time to find a quality goalie coach to train with and not what a club gives them that will more than likely to excel but above else the player has to have a nose for the position. Goes need shots on them so playing for the best does not always work if they do not see a bunch of shots. We are entering the time where kids who were stuck in the back because they were to slow or not good enough for the field went. It is time for the real GKs to show up and as you can see there are not a lot of them around.

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Re: Where have all the keepers gone?

Post by hanallalone on 6/17/2016, 6:19 pm

acemccloud75 wrote:It is time for the real GKs to show up and as you can see there are not a lot of them around.

Not sure what the requirements are to be a real GK, but I can assure you there are some very good keepers scattered throughout the Metroplex... I know a bunch of teams are searching for a keeper, but that is more about teams trying to bolster a position that they may have overlooked in the past (that their competitors did not overlook)... A solid keeper is ESSENTIAL to be a top team, regardless how solid the team is... The older they get, the more critical the position is... Maybe that is why there is a scramble to pick up keepers right now; with the age pure shift moving all the CL byes up 1 full year, the fall birthday keepers just became 8-12 months less experienced overnight, and the spring BD kids who elect to play up are even more disadvantaged...
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