In soccer, there are different specific terms for many things. This is one of those things that distinguishes soccer from other sports. In soccer, you have many things to look out for in a match, not the scoreline alone.
The save percentage is one of the interesting stats in soccer. Every team is keen to know these stats to know how effectively their goalkeeper performs in the soccer match.
In soccer, it is only the work of the goalkeepers that are rated in saves. And to know more about saves, it will be good to know more about the duties of goalkeepers.
The goalie is another name for the goalkeeper, and they are the final line of defense against the other team’s attempts to score. The goalies punch, catch or kick the ball to safety or back into the play. The goalie is still the only player who could use his hands in a soccer match within the goal area.
Goalkeepers are the field’s eyes and ears, and they frequently see things that the coaches don’t. For example, the goalkeeper interacts with the defenders and the midfielders to ensure that they are in the proper position.
The goalkeeper interacts with the defenders and the midfielders to ensure that they are in the proper position. When free kicks, corner kicks, and goal kicks are about to be taken, the goalie organizes the defense.
This article is dedicated to helping readers understand the concept of saves in soccer, how the saves percentage can be calculated, and when we refer to a saves percentage as good or not.
Read more: Do Soccer Goalies Guess on Penalty Kicks?
What counts as a save in soccer?
In soccer, the work of offensive players is to continue in the flow of the attack launched by their teams and to take a shot. Soccer shots are categorized into two levels: shots on target and shots off-targets.
It is important to distinguish the two to clearly understand what counts as a save in soccer.
There is a need for a soccer player to shoot the ball for there to be a save. A shooting occurs when a player fires the soccer ball towards the net, either stopped by the goalie or went in. Shots from a penalty shootout are excluded from a soccer match’s total number of shots.
A clear effort to score that travels over or wide of the post without initiating contact with yet another player, or might have gone over or wide of the goalpost but for a goalie’s save or even an outfield player, is considered a shot off target.
A shot on target is basically any goal attempt that satisfies the following criteria:
- Regardless of the purpose, it goes into the net or is an obvious effort to score, which should have gone in the net if the goalie had not saved it.
- Or maybe stopped by a last-man player when the goalkeeper does not have an opportunity of stopping it (this can also be referred to as last line block).
- Unless the ball goes in and is awarded as a goal, shots directly striking the goal frame are not classified as shots on target. In addition, shots on goal are not recorded if they are prevented by a player who is not the last-man player.
- A shot off-target could also strike the woodwork directly, resulting in not scoring a goal. Also, it should be noted that shots that are blocked do not count as shots off target.
- Any shot that is not on target cannot be recorded as a save if caught, blacked, or fisted away by the goalkeeper.
- The only shot that can be recorded as a save is the one that would have been a goal but was prevented by the goalkeeper either by fisting it away, by catching it, by kicking it, or by any other means, which led to the goal being prevented on the long run.
How to calculate save percentage in soccer?
A goalkeeper’s save percentage is the ratio of saves (shots on target prevented by the goalkeeper) to the number of shots on goal in a given match or series of matches.
A goalie with a greater save percentage allows fewer shots into the net. Conversely, a goalie with a poor save percentage allows a lot of goals into the net.
The term is also used in field hockey, lacrosse, ice hockey, and water polo as a goalkeeper’s stat.
Though it is called save percentage, this determining stat can also be presented or written in decimal number form.
To calculate the save percentage, the following steps that will be explained in the section of this article below are needed to be taken.
Step 1 – Get the numbers of shots in the match or series of matches
In a bid to calculate the saves percentage of a goalkeeper in a match or a series of matches, there is a need to get the numbers of shots in the match. And the relevant number of shots, in this case, is the number of shots that are on target in the match.
Though shots that are off-targets are also an important part of every match, they are needed to be collated to know much about the match or even the series of matches. But they are irrelevant to the calculation of the save percentage of a goalkeeper of any team.
Another type of shot that is also completely irrelevant and unnecessary for calculating the saves percentage of a team’s goalkeeper is the shots that other outfield players blocked.
That means if the defender, or the midfielder, or even the forwards of a team stopped a ball from entering the back of the net of their team, that would not need to be recorded for consideration for the save percentage calculation.
Like it has been said, in the earlier part of this section, the shots that are up for consideration in a bid of the calculation of the save percentage of a team needs to be the one they prevented from entering to the back of their net.
Even though other players might make deflections or contacts, be it their teammates or even the opponents.
As much as the final prevention from the shot becoming a goal was made by the goalkeeper, that shot can be considered worth considering for saves percentage calculation.
Step 2 – The number of saves made by the keeper needs to be collated
Another determining factor of the saves percentage of the keeper of any team in soccer is the number of times they have been able to save their team from the danger of the attack of the opponent, which could have led to a goal.
One of the interesting parts of soccer, which many fans and soccer lovers, and analysts look out for, is the number of saves a keeper could make. When a keeper can make nice saves, they will be able to build a good reputation for their career.
The career of any goalkeeper is built on how they can make preventions to the attacks of the opponents, which can lead to a goal.
So for any keeper who wants to build a good career as a goalkeeper and a good save percentage for as many seasons as possible, the only way to achieve that is to make enough saves, which also means preventing the opponent’s shot on targets the back of their net.
Step 3 – Division of the saves by the shots
The next thing to do after gathering the necessary information for the calculation of saves percentage (the numbers of saves and the numbers of shots) is to divide the numbers of saves by the numbers of shots that the keeper has saved in either in a match or a series of matches.
This happens to be the last step to be taken to get the accurate saves percentage of any team’s keeper.
For example, let’s say we have a goalkeeper for team A and another keeper for team B. The goalkeeper of team A faced 98 shots in 15 matches, while the keeper of team B faced 80 shots within the same number of matches (15).
Also, to calculate their saves percentage, there will be a necessary need for their total numbers of saves. Saying team A has the total save of 75 out of 15 matches, while team B’s keeper has a total number of 70 saves out of the 15 matches
To calculate the saves percentage of team A’s keeper:
Numbers of shots = 98
Numbers of saves made = 75
Save percentage=75/98 = 0.77 or 77%
To calculate the saves percentage of team B’s keeper:
Numbers of shots = 80,
Numbers of saves made = 70
Save percentage=70/80 = 0.88, or 88%
When you examine the calculation made above, it can be seen that the outcome shows that team B’s keeper has a higher saves percentage of 0.88 or 88%. While team A’s keeper has the saves percent of 0.77 or 77%.
Calculating save percentage is good, as it helps the goalkeeper and the whole team know more about their performance.
It helps the defenders tighten up the defense of the team, and it also helps the goalkeeper know more about their performance in the match or the series of matches. Generally, it serves as a good way of getting the review or feedback from a match or series of matches.
But the con of a team by the save percentage is that there might be a result that is not accurate with the state of the performance or form of the keeper when the judgment is decided solely by the save percentage calculation.
To explain this better, in cases where a team’s defensive strength is very high, which gives the opponent a lesser opportunity to shoot, hereby saving the keeper from the shots that might lead to a goal or the team is playing against opponents with weak attackers.
In the cases mentioned above, the goalkeeper’s sharpness and accurate form might not be replicated or recorded by the save percentage.
Or even if the case is reversed, where the team’s defensive strength is low, resulting in a lot of defensive mistakes leading to goals. The accurate form of the goalkeeper will not be recorded by the save percentage if there is a need to judge.
What’s a good save percentage?
Even though the concept of save percentage is very much present in some other sports, but the good save percentage varies. In hockey, for example, the average good save percent keepers can have is up to 90% and sometimes even above.
But it is quite different in soccer; the average good save percentage is 70% or 0.7. This difference emanates because of the differences in the characteristics and natures of the sports.
Due to the proximity of shooting in soccer compared to that of hockey, it has a lower percentage which can be classified as a good save percentage number.
Checking through how soccer has been, good goalkeepers are the ones who most times have the better save percentage and vice versa.
A good save percentage is an encouragement to keepers. It gives most of them a sense of achievement and more opportunity to win trophies. It also opens up to them the opportunity to play for other teams of their dreams.
Getting a good save percentage requires a lot of hard work, consistent drilling, and workouts. To get better saves, keepers can work towards getting better in training, and also, you can watch this video that explains more about getting better at goalkeeping.
Saving the soccer ball is a very common thing in the game of soccer; it is the major duty of the goalkeeper on the soccer pitch. That means the keeper is expected at all times to be a watch over the goal area of their team.
And this also means that by every means possible and lawful, the goalkeeper is expected to prevent the attacks of the opponents from becoming a goal against their team.
Saves percentage is the average calculation of a goalkeeper’s performance considering the amounts of shots they faced and the number of times that they were able to stop them.
To calculate the save percentage, gathering information like the shots on targets and numbers of saves is very important. Because it is the determining factor, the number of shots will be divided by the number of saves to get the same percentage.
The save percentage has its advantage and contribution to soccer. It can be seen as it is a good way to review the performance of a goalkeeper and the defensive strength of the team generally.
But the save percentage can be inaccurate in some cases, like in cases where defensive errors keep happening, like earlier said in the article.
There will be more exposure of the goalkeeper, leaving them no choice but to concede some goals even though they might be in form.
Save percentage is one of the most cherished stats that goalkeepers care about apart from their team’s performance stats. Mainly because of more opportunities it opens to them.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!