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How Important Is A Goalie In Soccer?

How Important Is A Goalie In Soccer?

Soccer is a team sport with eleven players and each player has different roles assigned to them on the pitch. How each player performs in their various positions has a significant impact on a team’s overall performance.

In soccer, defense, midfield, and attack are the three primary positions. Every other position like the attacking midfielder or winger is as spin-off of one of these primary positions.

While every position in soccer is vital, most teams rely more on their defense, especially when they are playing against a superior team with excellent attacking prowess.

When putting together a good defensive structure, the goalie is one of the most important positions to consider.

The importance of the goalkeeper’s position cannot be overstated. Soccer clubs will hardly lose games if they have very skilled goalkeepers.

In this article, we will tell you who a goalie is and how important a goalie is to a soccer team along with some known characteristics of great goalies.

We will also help you discover if the goalie’s position is the hardest in soccer.

How important is a goalie in soccer?

In soccer, the difference between the two teams competing at the end of a match is only their goal difference. This is why teams struggle to score goals during games since it is used to decide who wins or loses.

The goalkeeper’s position has a significant impact on the number of goals that can be scored during a game, especially when teams can’t rely on their defenders. If a goalkeeper is outstanding, saving every shot on goal, their side will hardly concede a goal.

soccer goalkeeper in yellow catching a ball

In fact, if a game ever proceeds to penalty shootouts to determine the winner, the team will rely on the skills of their goalie to win.

For example, during the AFCON 2021 tournament, the Egyptian team systematically dragged tough games to penalties because they trusted their shot-stopper Gabaski. Interestingly, Gabaski ended up saving one or two penalties in every shootout he participated in.

If you desire to win a match in soccer, you’ll need more than a defense. Sometimes you also need a goalkeeper who is skilled, clever, and well-organized. You can read this previous article to know more about what a goalkeeper does in soccer.

Let’s meet a soccer goalie—who is a goalie?

The goalkeeper is the last line of defense of any team. They play in front of the goal to defend the net against an attacking side that is attempting to score.

Goalies are even more important during shootouts since it is up to them to keep the ball out of the net. It is their most challenging responsibility on the soccer pitch because shootouts always test their efficacy. Check out this article to know more about goalkeepers and penalty kicks.

Goalkeeper, goalie, or goaltender are all names used in describing the role of the player always found in front of the net with gloves. Keeping is a one-of-a-kind and crucial job with its own set of laws.

soccer goalkeeper taking a knee and holding a soccer ball in his arm

Goalies, unlike the rest of other players, can touch the ball with their hands in the 18-yard or penalty area of the field. However, we have seen goalies like Paraguay skipper, Jose Luis Chilavert play freekicks and penalties in regular game durations.

They can leave the penalty area, but once they do, they are no different from any other player on the field. As a result, they are unable to touch balls outside of this box with their hands.

A goalie may, however, dribble the ball back into the goal area before picking it up and kicking it down the field toward the opponent’s side.

The job of goalies might look easy from afar. However, it is very demanding both physically and mentally.

The goalie is permitted to wear jersey colors that are distinct from those of the other players on the pitch. Also, goalies may score goals but it must be without using their hands or arms during a soccer match.

Ex-Brazilian goalkeeper Rogério Mucke Ceni scored 131 goals between 1990 and 2015, according to records. He is recognized as the goalie with the most goals in the history of soccer ahead of Jose Luis Chilavert with 67 goals.

The importance of a goalie in soccer

Goalies by far are the most essential defensive position on the field. For the reasons listed below, they are the defensive and overall backbone of soccer teams.

Some people believe that goalkeepers do not need to be athletic or strong, but this is not the case. Goalkeepers are usually the soccer team’s most energetic athletes. To be effective, goalies must be fast, agile, and have excellent hand-to-eye coordination.

Many soccer fans and coaches, such as Pep Guardiola, believe that goalies must have excellent shooting, passing and dribbling abilities as well as outstanding ball control. Goalies must also be intelligent, bold, and rugged.

Here are some of the most obvious importance of a goalie in soccer.

Properly distributing soccer balls

After gaining control of the ball, goalies must pass it to their teammates. They could either throw or kick the ball. The ball will often travel further when kicked, but there will be less control.

The goalie has a great view of the playing area and can switch it from one side to the other. The ball, for example, might reach the goalie from the right side of the pitch and be kicked by them to the left side.

soccer goalie in yellow uniform kicking a ball

It is crucial to often switch balls from one side of the pitch to another to quickly get past the opponent’s defense. Goalies may send balls straight to the midfield with a dropkick, allowing their team to prepare for counter-attacks against the opposing side.

Soccer teams with goalies who can properly pass balls to their teammates will have more shots on goal because they tend to keep the ball in possession for longer.

Saves or blocks the ball from getting into the net

In soccer, the goalie is the final line of defense against the other team’s attempts to score. The goalie is the only player who is allowed to use both hands within the goal area and is also allowed to punch, catch, and kick balls back into action.

A goalie’s primary duty is to catch a variety of balls including soft rollers and hotshots. Even the tiniest error or strange ball bounce might cost a goalie a goal and even the game.

When a goalie is unable to reach the ball in time to catch it, they try to deflect it away from the goal using their legs. The most crucial thing in the mind of goalies on the pitch is keeping balls out of the goalpost.

A goalie, on the other hand, does not just divert balls from opponents, they do more than just that. Deflections can be done in many ways including punching, kicking, or heading balls away from the goal.

Goalies sometimes dive on the ground with their full bodies to stop shots. To deflect fast shots, goalies often jump and stretch themselves. They stretch by diving with one hand and hopping off one leg.

soccer goalie in orange jersey dives and hops to catch soccer ball

Enhancing communication

Because goalies often have the best view of the soccer field, they can alert defenders as well as unmarked players, warning them of oncoming opponents. On the pitch, the goalie is the director and is in command of the defense.

Goalies facilitate communication between the defense and midfield and also feed coaches with crucial information. Coaches might benefit from discussing with goalies about different strategies and techniques.

It is no surprise that goalies are often suitable options when searching for a player to wear the team’s captain band. Goalies can confidently fill the captain position in a team because they can effectively assist in discussing issues with referees and other match officials.

Being a goalie necessitates a great deal of multitasking. Guarding the goal area also requires a lot of body movement as well as a constant focus on the ball.

Great goalies make a lot of maneuvers and split-second choices while maintaining their eyes on the ball and being mindful of other players as well.

Defense coordination or organization

A skilled goalie can take complete charge of a tough situation and use his or her voice to lead the whole defense throughout it. They are often in charge of both the center-back and full-back positions.

The goalie constantly interacts with defenders and midfielders to get them properly positioned in their place. They also give them instructions on how to alter their formation to stop the opposing team’s onslaught.

soccer goalie in black uniform coordinates with defenders in his team

During free kicks, corner kicks, and goal kicks, they control the defense. When there is a freekick, they have the power to choose how many players are needed for the wall. They are also in charge of setting up the defense wall, coordinating the defense during corners and other circumstances where a cross is likely.

Soccer players are expected to recognize and appreciate the goalie’s job, as well as heed to their instructions.

Boosting the team’s morale

Besides coordinating the team’s defense and working with the defenders to prevent the opponents from scoring, soccer goalies are also famous for boosting the team’s morale.

You will often see goalkeepers clapping their hands and telling the team to keep up their work rate. This is more prominent in teams where the goalkeeper doubles as the captain.

The morale-boosting gesture is most important when a team is trailing against their opponents.

soccer goalie in dark uniform encouraging his teammate

Create goal scoring opportunities

More than once we have seen goalkeepers start a counterattack by giving long passes to the striker who eventually goes to score. Because of their better vision of the field, goalies can see free players and pass the ball to them.

Apart from creating goalscoring chances, some goalkeepers take some of the chances themselves. For example, if a team gets a corner kick in the final minutes of a game, you will often see the goalkeeper go to the opponent team’s 18-yard box to tussle for the ball.

Is goalie the hardest position in soccer?

In soccer, there is a variety of positions, each requiring slightly different skillsets for optimal performance. It might be difficult to tell which soccer position is the most difficult since they all work in sync.

Although what one person considers challenging may be different from what another person considers challenging, being a goalkeeper is far from easy. Interestingly, while a goalkeeper can adapt to become an outfield player, the reverse is rarely seen.

Nonetheless, the goalie’s position is regarded by many soccer enthusiasts as being more difficult than any other in soccer. While this is disputable, a large number of soccer fans support this viewpoint.

According to American author Ben Clayfield, the goalie is the most difficult position in soccer. In an article, Claressa Cormier specifically named the goalie’s position as the most difficult position in soccer.

As long as the goalie role is concerned, any error committed has more severe consequences compared to other members of the team. Goalkeepers are often more tensed and alert when soccer balls approach their goal area.

goalkeeper is tensed in a penalty kick

Goalkeepers have progressed from a passive-defensive role to active members of the squad. Today, goalies must perform both defensive and offensive duties. For instance, in counterattacks, they must get the ball to the correct teammate at the right time to create the best offensive situation.

A goalie must not only perform under more pressure than other players, they also possess a distinct skillset and compete at a higher level of confidence than their teammates. The goalie also has to deal with the following;

  • In the event of a loss, the goalie bears the brunt of the blame
  • In most cases, the goalie is stripped of any form of glory
  • They have to deal with wet, muddy, and slippery pitches
  • The goalie is the easiest target for criticism

To be an outstanding goalie takes a lot of pain and practice, it is not as simple as it appears. This is why it is considered the hardest position in soccer. It requires talent, strength, fast reactions, fearlessness, confidence, and excellent sportsmanship.


In soccer games, goalies play a distinct and vital role. They keep the defense in check, make a lot of saves, and sometimes even make crucial passes to teammates that can lead to goals.

Goalies, in addition to being the final line of defense, have a great view of the pitch. This allows them to better position other players on the pitch which can lead the team to victory.

Because goalies guard the net and are regarded as the most difficult position in soccer, their function differs the most from that of other soccer players. Goalies also have to endure more injury risks like colliding with an outfield player when diving for the ball in the 18-yard box.

It takes a lot of talent, strength, training, attention, and strong leadership skills to be a successful goalie.