The Keeper's Line - Issue 167
Brad Fridel: The Quiet American
SPGS Celebrates 30 years:
free camp for 1 in 30 registrations
Goalkeeper: Little things that make a big difference
SPGS 2011 Summer
SPGS Back on the road
with our National Clinic Series
Discussion: Improving Goalkeeper Positioning
Letters, questions and comments from our readers
REtroline: position play
SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School celebrates it's 30 year this
summer! We kick off the camp season at Ohio Wesleyan University on
June 12th and wrap-up in our traditional manner with the Girl's
Pre-Season Team Camp in MA on August 15th. Sandwiched between
then are 10 glorious weeks of non-stop goalkeeping! To wet your
appetite even more, our National
Clinic Series is well under way, with more dates being added.
In the meantime we hope you enjoy this issue of the Keeper's
Line. We are delighted to be able to draw attention to one of
U.S.'s most consistent goalkeepers, Brad Freidel, and the
influence he continues to have on the game.
It is also a pleasure to trace this month's tactical discussion,
Tony DiCicco's most recent NSCAA presentation on positioning,
back to an article published over 25 years ago in one of the
first ever Keeper's Line issues which becomes the focus of this
Be sure to
check the 2011 SoccerPlus
Schedule for your preferred camp locations.
We hope to see you
at a SPGS program soon!
Editor's note: We are delighted to share
the latest soccer-related news, opinions and educational
material with our members each month.
other SoccerPlus newsletters FREE.
The Center Circle - for
The Sideline - for coaches
SoccerPlus Education Center Newsletter
- for parents, player and coaches
Brad Freidel: The quiet American
Shutting Out His Problems to Shut Out the Goals
by Rob Hughes, Jan 23rd, 2011.
published in The New York Times.
The goal scorers take the headlines, and the goalkeepers
take the flak.
As so often in soccer, the biggest names — and biggest earners —
this weekend were the guys up front. Dimitar Berbatov’s hat
trick kept Manchester United on top of the English league,
though Robin van Persie matched that for second placed Arsenal.
In Germany, Mario Gomez scored three times for Bayern Munich,
and in Spain, the Brazilian Luis Fabiano came back to form with
three goals for Sevilla.
It is an old English custom that a fellow who hits a hat trick
gets to keep the match ball. And Berbatov, who has netted 10
goals in his last four home games for Manchester United, might
soon start a second business selling soccer balls.
But speaking of businesses, it is arguable that the performance
of the weekend belonged in fact to a goal keeper.
Currently with Aston Villa, Freidel's consistency
has led to a long-spanning career in the English
Brad Friedel, the near-40-year-old keeper of Aston Villa,
managed a shutout against the
assembled global attackers of
Manchester City on Saturday. He rode his luck a couple of times,
but this was also quite a performance for the American.
His enduring agility in getting down in a split second to clear
a shot around his ankles is matched, still, by his ability to
stay alert and concentrate solely on keeping the ball out of his
net when panic sets in around him. The shutout Saturday was as
much a mental as a physical feat for Friedel.
Two days earlier, an English judge declared Friedel bankrupt
because of debts totaling almost £5 million, or $8 million,
related to his soccer academy business in the United States.
Friedel, the thinking man’s goalkeeper, was doing what any
big-name player should do. He may be pushing back Father Time
and his retirement date from top-tier soccer, but he was ahead
of the game in terms of mapping out a future.
Way back in 2003, he held summer camps in his native Lorain
County in northern Ohio.
He spoke eloquently of the need for something more than just
summer camps for the rich Americans. “Soccer in America,” he
said, “is a mid- to upper-class sport. I want to change that.”
His grand plan was to scout for prospects in 16 states and 16
Friedel’s talent spotters looked for kids whose parents couldn’t
afford $35,000 a year for full-time residential soccer and
schooling at the 28-acre, or 11-hectare, site his academy
established in Lorain County. The concept was find the talents,
nurture them free of charge, and change the way the United
States treats soccer.
Brad Freidel's Premier Soccer Academy in Lorraine
One obvious flaw was that the boss, the brain behind the scheme,
was otherwise engaged in England. The longer he could string out
his own career, worth £40,000 per week in the Premier League of
a top European soccer country, the less time he could be
hands-on at his own Premier Soccer Academies in the United
States. A spokesman for Friedel said last Friday the bankruptcy
was a technical issue that would be sorted out in a matter of
days. It stemmed from accusations of unpaid property taxes at
the academy in Ohio and from reported difficulties in getting
the corporate fund-raisers to recommit to the plan.
Time will tell whether Friedel, a model pro in his game, can
turn his academy around. At 39 — he will turn 40 in May — his
priorities have to be his family, with two young daughters, his
home in England, and, perhaps surprising even to him, his
continuing ability to sustain his performances for Aston Villa.
Freidel representing the U.S. during his
82-cap international playing career.
Friedel amassed 82 international appearances in his time as the
United States’ No. 1 goalie. His ongoing record is an
extraordinary unbroken run of 251 appearances between the
goalposts for his last two clubs, Blackburn Rovers and Villa. It
defies age, defies injuries and defies considerable turmoil at a
club that lost its team manager at the start of this season.
Villa’s U.S. owner, Randy Lerner, had not seen eye to eye with
Martin O’Neill, who was then coach. The team finished close to
the top last season, and O’Neill wanted to spend on new players
to make a run for the Champions League, but Lerner decided that
spending in the downturn was a folly.
The team pays £70 million in wages per season and the owner
wants to whittle that bill down. It has a deficit on players
bought against players sold, which soon will be against UEFA
rules on financial controls on club’s spending more than their
But Lerner’s choice of a new team manager, the experienced
Frenchman Gerard Houllier, courted disaster. Houllier and
Friedel spent time together, and not always harmoniously so, in
their time as manager and goalkeeper at Liverpool a decade ago.
And the coach had differences of opinion, differences of style
from the departed O’Neill, that caused unrest among the senior
pros at Villa.
To everyone’s surprise, not to mention shock, Lerner came out
spending in the January transfer window to stave off the
calamity that relegation from the Premier League would pose. He
sanctioned the £7 million purchase of Jean Makoun, a 27-year-old
Cameroon midfielder from Lyon, a team formerly coached by
Houllier. But a far bigger buy, costing an initial £18 million
with further payments if targets are reached, took the English
striker Darren Bent to Villa last week.
In his debut, Bent scored with his only shot of the entire match
against Manchester City. It was a typical poacher’s goal. Bent’s
qualities include single-mindedness, swiftness, readiness to
prey on the hint of an error.
He got one chance, when City’s 23-year-old goalie Joe Hart
failed to clear a low shot decisively. Quicker than all around
him, Bent saw that chance and from six yards pounced on it.
After spending 90 minutes in which he was often as visible as a
ghost, Bent did what Villa has gambled so much on him doing.
Villa thereafter clung on with what Houllier described as its
mental strength, its spirit of sacrifice.
Friedel sacrificed nothing on Saturday. He shut out Manchester
City, and he shut out his personal problems back in the States.
That, with respect, was more than a hat trick.
Free scholarship for 1 in 30 registrations
To celebrate the 30th year of SoccerPlus,
1 in every 30 registrations will receive FREE TUITION to any
SoccerPlus Residential Program in 2011.
One winner will be drawn at random out of every 30
registrations through March 30th, 2011. The winners will be
notified by e-mail and/or phone.
*Restrictions apply. Valid for one week of camp. No cash value.
Cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. Email
with any additional questions.
NATIONAL CLINIC SERIES
Can't wait until the summer of 2011?
From now until June, SoccerPlus will be travelling all over the
country as part of our National Clinic Series. So far we have announced clinics in
WA, CT, IN, NJ and NY
with more to come. Don't leave it to chance, if you'd like
to have a SoccerPlus Clinic at your club or in your community,
contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.KEEPER.1
KNOW THY KEEPER
By Tim Mulqueen, Jan 26th, 2011.
Originally published by Youth Soccer Insider - SOCCER AMERICA
Coaches must adjust their approach to the individual. Some
keepers might need the soft touch to get in the right frame of
mind. Others might require a rousing pep talk.
Some keepers might fall apart if they are given a direct, honest
critique without plenty of compliments to go with it. Others are
fine with a harsh, straightforward assessment. So how does the
coach know what’s best for each individual?
It is important to know what makes your
goalkeepers tic in order to keep them composed and
with close observation. The coach pays attention to the players
at every practice and game, as well as off the field.
After a keeper has a poor outing, recall what the warm-up was
like and what your pregame conversations entailed. If the keeper
had a standout game, ask yourself the following: What did we do
before that match? If the keeper had a real nervous outing, try
to recall what the pregame was like that time.
You might even keep a notebook that details your training
sessions and reminds you of what you’ve been telling a keeper.
Don’t be afraid to seek advice from others, such as the players’
previous coaches. They might provide valuable insight.
And above all, speak with your keepers. Get to know them. Ask
them about their off-the-field life. Find out if they have any
worries about family, school, and so on. Let them know you care
Simply talking to your
solve many problems.
If something is bothering your keeper --maybe his girlfriend
just broke up with him -- talking about it might help him clear
his head and get ready to focus on the play.
Find out if your keepers have any issues with other coaches or
teammates. The more information you gather, the easier it will
be to get your keepers on the right track -- and you’ll be
forging a solid relationship with your keepers.
Honesty solves a lot of problems.
So get feedback constantly. A
week into the season, ask the keepers to voice their opinions on
practices and your coaching. This doesn’t mean you always have
to make changes, but you’ll gain the keepers’ respect, and
perhaps you’ll identify something that might be done
TACTICAL Discussion: GOALKEEPER POSITIONING
Improving Goalkeeper Positioning
This session dealt
with basic concepts of positioning for shot handling and attacks
from the flanks. More advanced concepts such as protecting the
space behind the defense were also discussed. Techniques and
tactics concerning footwork, shot handling, breakaway saves,
getting back to the bar and communication were addressed.
Deficiencies in these techniques have become increasingly more
evident at all levels of the game, from youth soccer to
Sample session designed to improve the goalkeeper
Presented at the 2011 NSCAA Convention in Baltimore, MD.
Beginner to Advanced Concepts
by Tony DiCicco
Head Coach of the Boston Breakers,
Founder of SoccerPlus
and Lisa Cole
Assistant Coach of the Boston Breakers
The coach will learn a variety of methods for training
goalkeepers to improve in making saves in breakaway
+ Concentrate on
footwork (mini-shuffle; cross-over and shuffle;
free-stretch); reload (getting off the ground to a
Combined technical evolution: add FP’s to Warm
Goalkeeper plays ball wide and player received a ball
and attacks end line
+ Phase 1 -
+ Phase 2 – GK boxes
tossed ball either to a target or long, high and wide
and as soon as GK lands, a ball is played (same side) to
a more central or far side player for a one touch
finish. Combining boxing; footwork; angle play; and shot
saving (3-goal situation and point blank).
Exercise 1:Field Players start
in groups of 3. One player up top with the ball (FP3).
Ball is played into one of two players at the top of the
18 (FP1 & FP2) player receives (turns) and shoots –
goalkeeper adjusts positioning as needed. Player out
front can shoot at any time rather than pass (chip) if
they see the GK is cheating (FP3).
+ Phase 1 -
+ Phase 2
– player at top of 18 receives ball and shoots or plays
to other FP at top of 18 who shoots.
+ Phase 3 –
players receive ball at top of 18 but now can shoot or
play wide to a flank serve option (FP4 & FP5) or play
back to the player at the top of the 18 (FP3) that can
shoot or play wide as well.
- The wide player can
flight a ball in or can dribble towards goal line
(create 3 goal situation)
+ Phase 4
– Add a extra shot. After a 1st shot is taken, the 2nd
striker receives a ball and takes a shot. Played in by
FP6. Who is in the next group. Rebounds are live, so all
players waiting need to be ready to shoot.
- By Phase 4 the exercise should look very game
like. With the GK having to adjust positioning based on
what the FP’s decide to do with the ball. If needed a
coach can play the ball in every time and be ready to
catch the GK out to high. Make sure the field players
keep it realistic, they can’t take 3-4 touches inside
the 18. Must be done at game speed.
Focus: Winning the through ball, back pass options,
getting back to the bar
+ Phase 1 –
FP3 and FP4 start by flighting the ball into GK2, who
has the option to:
a. Head or Punch to goal
b. Lay off the ball to FP1 or FP2, who then shoot
c. Turn and shoot themselves
+ Phase 2 –
FP3 and FP4 can flight the ball in or they can drive
a ball into the players at the top of the 18. (FP1 &
FP2) Players FP1 and FP2 then have the option to:
b. take a touch and shoot
c. combine off each other to get shot
d. lay back to crosser and get in for through
ball or service
+ Phase 3 – The
player in the GK2 spot is now a Defender. The GK wants
to organize them to get out of the 18 and then to mark
one of the two attackers. If the defender wins the ball
they just need to clear the ball up to FP3 or FP4.
– Make sure players change up the service. GK
should always start of their line, if they can come and
win some of the balls being flighted into the 18 that is
great. This exercise should create situations where the
GK has to come win a through ball, has to come win a
flighted ball in, has to get back to the bar and may
have to just come and just clear the ball with their
feet. In Phase 3 the defender may play a backpass that
the GK needs to clear to the wingers.
Games to teach positioning:
+ Game 1
in the penalty area extended for angle play
+ Game 2 - Midfield
possession – blue line game to teach covering the space
+ Game 3 - Shooting
game – channel game for positioning on flank service
+ Game 4 - Offense vs.
Defense – Game to one Big Goal and 2 small counter
Notes - Need games because goalkeepers
have a tendency to retreat back to comfort zone in game
Questions and Answers:
Contact Tony or Lisa at
Tony DiCicco will be presenting, along with
other distinguished coaches and clinicians, at the 2011 Soccer
Champions Coaches' Clinic at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT
SoccerPlus Skill of the Week
In April, SoccerPlus launched the Skill of the Week - which
provides you exercises designed for you to be able to challenge
yourself at home. There are 3 FieldPlayer levels and 2
Goalkeeper levels. Check them out at:
An example of the SOW:
Letters, Questions and comments
Thought you'd enjoy seeing the honor that Taylor has received:
She made it
as one of the top 10 nominees for 'Save of the Year' with US
Youth Soccer (we submitted the PK saves in the State Cup game
against South Central last Spring).
Taylor is looking forward to attending your NTC Camp this
View the video
vote for the 2010 Save of the Year.
Voting ends on February 13th!
I received this picture today sent by the team doctor who is in
the picture with
JT and one of JT's good buddies named Cam. Cam is from Indiana.
Overall JT's national squad was 2-1 and the other team was 3-0
Guadalajara. JT started all 3 of his games, feeling as though he
played well in
2 of the 3.
The coaches were very complimentary as well as constructive in
he needed to work on which he said he did in today's game. He
feels as though
he is leaving camp on a high note. He has had an unbelievable
time and appears
to have adjusted well to the weather, altitude, language, food
and all while in
Mexico. He did say he is looking forward to being home tomorrow
salad. And I am sure by Monday he will wish he was back there.
Just thought you may enjoy knowing how he did on this trip with
Team. He is signed up for the Core Program in San Diego and will
soon register for NTC at Cal State East Bay.
JT Marcinkowski (right) with the US National Team in
JT will be attending our Core and NTC programs this
Please send us your letters, questions, comments and
email@example.com and they will be featured in the
next edition of The Keepers Line.
by Tony DiCicco
Originally published in TKL #2, April, 1985
Great goalkeepers have the ability to make great
saves appear easy. But that doesn't happen by luck, nor by
instinct. It's knowledge that lets a goalie attract a ball
like a magnet.
What's the secret to that knowledge? Good positioning, which
is often only a matter of one or two inches in any
direction. But how does a goalkeeper achieve that good
positioning, which reduces shooting angles and makes the
goal appear smaller than it really is?
First, the body and mind must be prepared to react. It needs
to be in constant balance. The feet should be shoulder width
apart, with the weight on the balls of their feet. The center
of gravity is in a position of mobility. The palms of the
hands are facing down showing 90 degrees of flexion at the
elbow joint. The head is steady, with the shoulders square
to the ball.
The body is in motion, to overcome the effects of inertia.
This allows for a pre-stretch movement just prior to the
shot, which provides the muscles that move the levers of the
body with a better physiological advantage. Concentration -
total preparation - is essential.
Now that the body and mind are in good starting positions,
let's get in between the goal sticks. Create an imaginary
line from the ball to both posts. Take a central position
(known as the "ball line"). This allows equal space to both
sides. These lines form a triangle.
Angle play with the keeper
taking a central position between the posts.
Now the keeper must read and anticipate the situation by
being alert to his surroundings. The amount of the angle
that's cut down depends on several considerations: distance
and position of the ball, the speed at which the opponent is
approaching the ball; the type of ball (bouncing, rolling or
stationary); the anticipated intention of the player with
The keeper must also keep in mind that angle play is
three-dimensional. Left and right angles with the near post
coverage being the top priority, are important but there is
also a third angle; above the head. Certainly the
keeper's own height is a factor to consider.
Training to develop angle play requires patience. It is not
achieved through dynamic drills. Match experience and
constantly thinking of where the ball is in relation to the
goal is what's crucial to good position play.
How well do you understand positioning? Consider the various
situations and think about where in the goal you should
+ The opposing keeper is in possession
of the ball.
+ A corner kick from the left side of
the pitch, with a left-footed player striking the
+ An indirect free kick, with the ball
placed in the middle of the goal, eight yards
from the goal line.
+ A confidence builder - the penalty
The ability to perform acrobatic saves in a technically
elegant fashion is great. However, more important is your
awareness of angle play. Effective positioning reduces the
number of goals suffered, and gives the impression that only
something very special will beat the keeper.
To develop this perception, the keeper must be a student of
the game. When he does concede a goal, they must rehash and
analyze the goal. Constant self-evaluation results in fewer
The keeper must also play the game often. Accumulation of
these match experiences develops anticipation. Good
positioning and recognizing dangerous situations will
sharply reduce the number of scoring opportunities they
The Keeper's Line
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