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Keeper and thier field skills (for a U10) Pixel
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Keeper and thier field skills (for a U10)

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Post by SocDad on 11/09/13, 02:48 pm

How good of a field skills does a U10 Keeper need to have?

Where should they be incomparison to the other players on the field (Keep in mind, shes a U10 and not a U17)?
Should they be as good as a Defender, Midfielder, or Forward?  Should a dedicated keeper at this age be judged on fancy footwork that some other higher skilled players perform?  What field skills does a keeper at this age need to possess?
Should it be more that basic recieving, maybe an L-behind here or there, stopping and passing the ball and just basically being able to clear it out?  I can't ever recall a time that I have seen a keeper have to dodge in and out of traffic in a "GAME" like a midfielder does? (remember there U10's)
An idea that always pops up, is that, if her team is dropping the ball back to the keeper, then there should be no opponets around the keeper (bc, its too risky), so the more advance footwork in unneeded.

Now in my defense, I have listened to others and read (on this site), that as a parent, one must keep the field skills up no matter how much they tell you "that's all I want to play", and I have tried my best to do so.  We do keeper practice once a week and then team practice twice a week.  I also make sure that she doesn't just get put in the net at team practices and get shots taken on her.

Here's another thought.....How many "Highly" skilled Field players are Keepers?
I would think that at this age, a coach is not putting a higer skilled field player in the net?  Seems kinda a waste of resources to me?

This all being said...its blantly obvious that her Keeper skills are much greater than her Field skills.........but were working on both of them.  Just need some advice.
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Post by Coach&Ref on 11/09/13, 03:19 pm

You are going to hear widely ranging views on this subject. I can only give you my opinion.

Firstly, if you look at the pros, many of them are excellent field players with great touches. They didn't get this way by simply playing keeper since 9yo.

At 9yo, I would have your daughter on a team that splits time with another player or two. She needs footskills and most importantly, needs to be able to use BOTH feet. A regular field player can get away with using just their dominant foot, but a keeper needs to use both.

I wouldn't worry about having to know a bunch of "moves". Every player really only needs to know two that they can do with confidence anywhere on the pitch. The most important thing a child needs to work on is first touch.

Since the coach knows that you do keeper training on a different day, ask that she play only on the field at least for practices.

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Post by go99 on 11/09/13, 03:27 pm

I know my dd's team has no need for a keeper with no footskills.  The ball is constantly being dropped to the keeper to keep possesion.  I am going disagree with the coach here.  There is no reason to force a kid to play half the game on the field if thats what she wants to do.  A kid who wants to be a keeper is fine and should be allowed to do just that.  They should work on their footskills because it is part of being a good keeper.  Also it's seems that the only place I hear you only need to moves is here in the US.  Never heard anyone say that in Brazil
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Post by SocDad on 11/09/13, 03:34 pm

go99....

I totally get your comment about "no need ...no footskills". I'm sorry, but I have have represented my DD skils a bit lower than what they actually are.

I would place her skill level in the "Middle of the Pack". There not great, but decent. I was just wondering at this age how should they be compared.
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Post by Coach&Ref on 11/09/13, 03:34 pm

go99 wrote:I know my dd's team has no need for a keeper with no footskills.  The ball is constantly being dropped to the keeper to keep possesion.  I am going disagree with the coach here.  There is no reason to force a kid to play half the game on the field if thats what she wants to do.  A kid who wants to be a keeper is fine and should be allowed to do just that.  They should work on their footskills because it is part of being a good keeper.  Also it's seems that the only place I hear you only need to moves is here in the US.  Never heard anyone say that in Brazil
Come on, go! What if she stops growing and ends up being 4'11? Think she might then rue the lost time she didn't learn everything field players know if she loves the sport? I still say to wait a bit more to decide if that is what she wants to do. Very Happy

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Post by go99 on 11/09/13, 03:43 pm

but if she loves playing keeper and stops growing that does not mean she will now love playing on the field.  Not every kid WANTS to play on the field.  That being said if a kid does want to play on the field then by all means.  I am just not for making a kid play on the field like making them eat their veggies.   We make the mistake of assuming kids who play keeper are broken or stuck playing keeper.  There are many kids that playing keeper IS what they love about the game.  But to answer your question what if she stops growing?  Then maybe she will quit soccer and find another activity that interest her like the vast majority of the kids who play soccer do.  For the other question I would say middle of the pack is probably good enough but she can never be too good with her feet.  Just don't beat her up with footskill so she isn't having fun.  Oh and even more important that footskill, have her work on that goal kick.
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Post by go99 on 11/09/13, 03:47 pm

OH and my older boy just hit the AL and their keeper is about the middle of the team.  Really at that level I think he should be the worst but some of the kids our scary with their lack of skill.  Definitely for CL midpack is certianly impressive for the keeper
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Post by Coach&Ref on 11/09/13, 03:58 pm

I understand what you are saying, go, but this age is really so young, that the motivation for playing keeper may be different than most think.

I have seen more kids than I can count want to be keepers at younger ages because they don't want to have to run. They don't understand the massive pressure a keeper has and what a difficult position it is to play. A lot of times, you see overweight kids being keepers at young ages either because the coach doesn't think they can play anywhere else, or because the kid doesn't want to run. That all changes when they get older and the full weight of the keeper position comes into perspective.

I'm not saying at all that there are not exceptions to the rule at 9yo, but if you look around, you can get a feeling for what I'm saying.

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Post by Crazydadof3 on 11/09/13, 09:45 pm

I have twin DD's that are U12 and they both play keeper and field. I would not have it any other way. They get skills and a perspective of the game playing both that i think would be lacking if they only played keeper. I think at U12, most teams have dedicated keepers, but I plan on having my girls split time as long as we can get away with it. I think because they both play in the field, their foot skills, receiving and passing are real assets in the goal. That said, not sure there is only one correct answer, each kid is different. I don't think my girls would choose to play keeper if they were restricted to just that position. They both enjoy their time playing in the field. Especially in those games when the opposition is week, and the keeper does little but stand and watch.


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Post by intrinsic on 11/09/13, 10:32 pm

Keeper footskills are like any other skill- you don't want to stop when the skills are "good enough", but you should continue to develop them. Keepers who have been successful as field players have a lot of confidence in their ability to find solutions in all the different situations that come up- it's not just a matter of being able to switch the point of attack with two touches and an accurate long pass, but it's having the composure to handle difficult situations, or find a player to pass to instead of just banging the ball out for a 50-50 battle.  The whole team can sense when the keeper is confident and skilled in handling back passes or balls outside the box, and it takes pressure off the defenders to know they can count on the gk.

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Post by Guest on 12/09/13, 09:22 am

I'm going to go so far out on limb it just might break. IMO the keeper is the most specialized position on the field. Not only does the keeper have to be able to use their feet but also hands and body. I'm going to pitch my tent in Go's camp, I completely agree with him. If your DD wants to play keeper and that's where her heart is, then let her play it and if that's her goal to be keeper then I don't agree with splitting time. She needs all the game/situational time in the net she can get. Get a good keeper coach outside of team training, the more the better and get different perspectives. Get the technical training now get good habits established and the tactical/situational experience will come along. Just my two cents.

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Post by SD69 on 12/09/13, 09:41 am

Don't have a DD for goalie, but IMO think it depends on what a girl and coach want and are willing to concede. Having two that split time has the disadvantage of not being as skilled in the 6 yard box but it gives a team flexibility in that if the keeper gets hurt, they have a fallback plan, especially in select where guest players are not allowed. Having field skills can also give them more confidence in roaming the 18 or beyond and this can allow defenders to confidently move up the field as the keep can clear any long balls that come her way.

Again, I think it depends on each specific situation, but at the very least, I think the full time keepers need to spend at least part of their team practice working on footskills with their teammates instead of just being used in the 6 as target practice for a couple of hours.
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Post by GrandTXSoccer on 12/09/13, 11:40 am

Quite honestly there's really no reason to focus on any one position until you start getting in the upper age groups. If all your DD does is play forward and never plays anything else then she either has to be a PHENOM at forward or she's a one trick speed pony that isn't developing her game and will eventually be squeezed out. Same thing goes for GK's, you need to play other position at a younger age so that you actually know how to play the game of soccer. Now you don't have to split time every game, simply a few halves throught the course of league play to get her involved in the flow of the game. Someone that has never played anything but keeper doesn't hold too much weight with the team when they are back there barking out orders.

If your DD loves to play in goal then by all means encourage her to play GK, however for her development you need to get her in as many 3v3 or similar type games where she has to come out and play with her feet only (just like if your DD is a forward then you need to put her at defender and mid occasionaly to help her develop). If she truly wants to play keeper to be the best keeper possible then it will be no problem explaining it to her and there are countless articles and interviews by top keepers that say to play soccer at a young age and don't worry about playing keeper exclusively. Now if she absolutely doesn't want to play anything but keeper then you really need to take a look at the reason why she is actually playing (friendships, because mom and dad want her too, or because she truly wants to play). If it's one of those first two then you have problems.


Keep this in mind that hand eye coordination doesn't really start developing to the degree to play keeper until around the age of 10-11 so up until that age it's really a crap shoot on if the kid will be able to judge that high ball and should they come out or stay put. Think about it, how many games have you watched where you as a parent go "how in the hell did that ball just get through??" The answer is simple, the skills needed to handle a moving objection coming at you simply hasn't fully developed and no amount of keeper training is going to change it. No amount of diving on a pad is going to help them develop that hand eye coordination any quicker. That's one of the reasons I always encourage folks to not let their DD's get pigeoned holed as a keeper at a young age. If you do and that's all she ever plays, you've given her so few options to continue playing the game when she gets older. It's much easier for a field player to drop back into playing keeper than it is for someone that has only played keeper to make the move to playing in the field. Not a knock on keepers, just the facts.

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Post by Lighting Rod on 12/09/13, 02:58 pm

If she is headed to the Olympics she should consider some field experience.
http://www.ussoccer.com/teams/wnt/s/hope-solo.aspx

If she wants to get playing time she should consider changing positions if coach asks even if she has really never played that position.
http://www.ussoccer.com/teams/wnt/o/kelley-ohara.aspx

Things change and no 9/10 year old should be locked into one position. Also remember the coach is looking to upgrade all 11 positions so it is best not to be a one trick pony.

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Post by go99 on 12/09/13, 03:47 pm

There is no reason to force a kid to do something that they don't want to do. No every kid wants to be on the field. Not every keeper is hiding in goal. There are kids that what they love about soccer is being a goalie. There are kids that what they love about soccer is taking the ball from others and making a tackle and defending. You don't have to play every position in some false hope that it will keep you around in soccer. Most kids will have their fun in soccer and move on to other activities as well they should. As far as Hope Solo and the others go, follow her road map to the letter and you will likely not go very far. Hope Solo was 10 yrs old more that 20 yrs ago. The soccer world in the US has changed and what it took 20 yrs ago will not make it today. And why bring up hope solo but leave off morgan and wanbach both one trick ponies that excel at what they do. Oh and you are correct the teams and coaches are upgrading and improving because sports is a pyramid. But the excellent one trick pony will be around much longer than the jack of all trades master of none. Enjoy the game, play were you want to play and be as good as you can be. Be open to the limitations of your skillset and realize that certian skills lend themselves to certian positions. That no matter how great and special mom and dad think you are or were you should play, it's not always true. Bobby Rhine gave me some good advice when my son wanted to play up (I was against it). He said "Remember, it's his soccer not yours. If it's not going to hurt him let him do what he wants. It will keep him motivated"
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Post by Guest on 12/09/13, 10:38 pm

go99 wrote:There is no reason to force a kid to do something that they don't want to do. No every kid wants to be on the field. Not every keeper is hiding in goal. There are kids that what they love about soccer is being a goalie. There are kids that what they love about soccer is taking the ball from others and making a tackle and defending. You don't have to play every position in some false hope that it will keep you around in soccer. Most kids will have their fun in soccer and move on to other activities as well they should. As far as Hope Solo and the others go, follow her road map to the letter and you will likely not go very far. Hope Solo was 10 yrs old more that 20 yrs ago. The soccer world in the US has changed and what it took 20 yrs ago will not make it today. And why bring up hope solo but leave off morgan and wanbach both one trick ponies that excel at what they do. Oh and you are correct the teams and coaches are upgrading and improving because sports is a pyramid. But the excellent one trick pony will be around much longer than the jack of all trades master of none. Enjoy the game, play were you want to play and be as good as you can be. Be open to the limitations of your skillset and realize that certian skills lend themselves to certian positions. That no matter how great and special mom and dad think you are or were you should play, it's not always true. Bobby Rhine gave me some good advice when my son wanted to play up (I was against it). He said "Remember, it's his soccer not yours. If it's not going to hurt him let him do what he wants. It will keep him motivated"
Well said!

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Post by orbitzone2000 on 12/09/13, 11:04 pm

A lot of interesting takes on this topic! I just wonder how many of you have actually played GK? I played GK for a very long time and IMHO, a GK is no different than a Forward, Mid, or a Defender. To me it's all about the Kids Personality/mentality. The things that separate our young ones are still the same. Some have outstanding speed, skills on the ball or play angles better. Why should we as parents and or coaches act like playing GK and getting the training should come at an older age. If you have a player in front of you that wants to play GK, and has advanced hand eye coordination why not Develope that at a young age, why not show that Player the correct diving Technique? I think the reason we don't see more talented GK's at a young age is because we put all the girls with the ability at forward and say go score goals. I believe that if we focused more on GK at a younger age and glorified it like we do the Striker Position, more of our young ones would be more likely to play the position. If I were starting a u7,u8, or u9 team and could have any player I wanted, I would start with a dominant GK that communicates well. A really good GK can Control the pace of a game and top Strikers are plentiful. Just my opinion and I am biased! Laughing

To answer the initial question about field skills. IMO a top GK has very good ball skills. They don't need to be as good as a top field players skills but definitely need to be good. The game has evolved and the GK's are being asked to handle the ball a lot more now days. To me the top 3 things I would look for in this order are.

1. Leadership
2. Communication
3. Ball handling


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Post by SD69 on 13/09/13, 07:54 am

orbitzone2000 wrote:A lot of interesting takes on this topic! I just wonder how many of you have actually played GK? I played GK for a very long time and IMHO, a GK is no different than a Forward, Mid, or a Defender. To me it's all about the Kids Personality/mentality. The things that separate our young ones are still the same. Some have outstanding speed, skills on the ball or play angles better. Why should we as parents and or coaches act like playing GK and getting the training should come at an older age. If you have a player in front of you that wants to play GK, and has advanced hand eye coordination why not Develope that at a young age, why not show that Player the correct diving Technique? I think the reason we don't see more talented GK's at a young age is because we put all the girls with the ability at forward and say go score goals. I believe that if we focused more on GK at a younger age and glorified it like we do the Striker Position, more of our young ones would be more likely to play the position. If I were starting a u7,u8, or u9 team and could have any player I wanted, I would start with a dominant GK that communicates well. A really good GK can Control the pace of a game and top Strikers are plentiful. Just my opinion and I am biased! Laughing

To answer the initial question about field skills. IMO a top GK has very good ball skills. They don't need to be as good as a top field players skills but definitely need to be good. The game has evolved and the GK's are being asked to handle the ball a lot more now days. To me the top 3 things I would look for in this order are.

1. Leadership
2. Communication
3. Ball handling

Yeah, they have to be nuts! Very Happy
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Post by homiethesoccerman on 13/09/13, 08:19 am

soccerdad1969 wrote:
orbitzone2000 wrote:A lot of interesting takes on this topic! I just wonder how many of you have actually played GK? I played GK for a very long time and IMHO, a GK is no different than a Forward, Mid, or a Defender. To me it's all about the Kids Personality/mentality. The things that separate our young ones are still the same. Some have outstanding speed, skills on the ball or play angles better. Why should we as parents and or coaches act like playing GK and getting the training should come at an older age. If you have a player in front of you that wants to play GK, and has advanced hand eye coordination why not Develope that at a young age, why not show that Player the correct diving Technique? I think the reason we don't see more talented GK's at a young age is because we put all the girls with the ability at forward and say go score goals. I believe that if we focused more on GK at a younger age and glorified it like we do the Striker Position, more of our young ones would be more likely to play the position. If I were starting a u7,u8, or u9 team and could have any player I wanted, I would start with a dominant GK that communicates well. A really good GK can Control the pace of a game and top Strikers are plentiful. Just my opinion and I am biased! Laughing

To answer the initial question about field skills. IMO a top GK has very good ball skills. They don't need to be as good as a top field players skills but definitely need to be good. The game has evolved and the GK's are being asked to handle the ball a lot more now days. To me the top 3 things I would look for in this order are.

1. Leadership
2. Communication
3. Ball handling

Yeah, they have to be nuts! Very Happy
Why is that? Very Happy 

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Post by SD69 on 13/09/13, 08:58 am

Lets see, at the top of my head:
-alone in the box for half the game (assuming an evenly matched game)
-gets blamed for letting goals in in spite of the 10 mistakes by field players it took for the shot to be taken
-only ones on the field with own set of rules
-they stick their head and hands where everyone else is kicking with their feet
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Post by homiethesoccerman on 13/09/13, 09:11 am

soccerdad1969 wrote:Lets see, at the top of my head:
-alone in the box for half the game (assuming an evenly matched game)
-gets blamed for letting goals in in spite of the 10 mistakes by field players it took for the shot to be taken
-only ones on the field with own set of rules
-they stick their head and hands where everyone else is kicking with their feet
I don't know what the top of your head has to do with the topic, but IMO you just Proved what the previous poster was saying, that is if you where referencing to the one sentence you highlighted? If you think our DD's personalities and mentalities are not being evaluated, then your the one who is Nutz!!!

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Post by SD69 on 13/09/13, 09:19 am

I may be Nutz, but its all in good fun. I've got lots of friends and family who have kids that are keepers exclusively. I never said anything about parents not evaluating their kids. Just pointing out (in a fun way) that it takes a special player to play keeper. Sorry if I offended Embarassed
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Post by orbitzone2000 on 13/09/13, 10:54 am

soccerdad1969 wrote:I may be Nutz, but its all in good fun. I've got lots of friends and family who have kids that are keepers exclusively. I never said anything about parents not evaluating their kids. Just pointing out (in a fun way) that it takes a special player to play keeper. Sorry if I offended Embarassed
You didn't offend me! I got the Joke. Laughing I don't know what Homies problem is?What a Face

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Post by Guest on 13/09/13, 11:32 am

orbitzone2000 wrote:A lot of interesting takes on this topic! I just wonder how many of you have actually played GK? I played GK for a very long time and IMHO, a GK is no different than a Forward, Mid, or a Defender. To me it's all about the Kids Personality/mentality. The things that separate our young ones are still the same. Some have outstanding speed, skills on the ball or play angles better. Why should we as parents and or coaches act like playing GK and getting the training should come at an older age. If you have a player in front of you that wants to play GK, and has advanced hand eye coordination why not Develope that at a young age, why not show that Player the correct diving Technique? I think the reason we don't see more talented GK's at a young age is because we put all the girls with the ability at forward and say go score goals. I believe that if we focused more on GK at a younger age and glorified it like we do the Striker Position, more of our young ones would be more likely to play the position. If I were starting a u7,u8, or u9 team and could have any player I wanted, I would start with a dominant GK that communicates well. A really good GK can Control the pace of a game and top Strikers are plentiful. Just my opinion and I am biased! Laughing

To answer the initial question about field skills. IMO a top GK has very good ball skills. They don't need to be as good as a top field players skills but definitely need to be good. The game has evolved and the GK's are being asked to handle the ball a lot more now days. To me the top 3 things I would look for in this order are.

1. Leadership
2. Communication
3. Ball handling

Very nice Orbitz, I really loved what you had to add. Everyone is so quick to pooh pooh specialized gk training at this age. Why not? If you have a girl who shows a proclivity to the position or who has the natural talents required to play keeper then train her as such.

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Post by orbitzone2000 on 13/09/13, 02:12 pm

Cleansheets wrote:
orbitzone2000 wrote:A lot of interesting takes on this topic! I just wonder how many of you have actually played GK? I played GK for a very long time and IMHO, a GK is no different than a Forward, Mid, or a Defender. To me it's all about the Kids Personality/mentality. The things that separate our young ones are still the same. Some have outstanding speed, skills on the ball or play angles better. Why should we as parents and or coaches act like playing GK and getting the training should come at an older age. If you have a player in front of you that wants to play GK, and has advanced hand eye coordination why not Develope that at a young age, why not show that Player the correct diving Technique? I think the reason we don't see more talented GK's at a young age is because we put all the girls with the ability at forward and say go score goals. I believe that if we focused more on GK at a younger age and glorified it like we do the Striker Position, more of our young ones would be more likely to play the position. If I were starting a u7,u8, or u9 team and could have any player I wanted, I would start with a dominant GK that communicates well. A really good GK can Control the pace of a game and top Strikers are plentiful. Just my opinion and I am biased! Laughing

To answer the initial question about field skills. IMO a top GK has very good ball skills. They don't need to be as good as a top field players skills but definitely need to be good. The game has evolved and the GK's are being asked to handle the ball a lot more now days. To me the top 3 things I would look for in this order are.

1. Leadership
2. Communication
3. Ball handling

Very nice Orbitz, I really loved what you had to add. Everyone is so quick to pooh pooh specialized gk training at this age. Why not? If you have a girl who shows a proclivity to the position or who has the natural talents required to play keeper then train her as such.
Thank you for the kind words. To me I see so many of our young ones and I say to myself, Wow she or he would be a solid GK. But they are goal scorers and that's what they like doing. I just wonder if we glorified stopping Goals would they want to?why Glorify it at age 14-19 and not now?

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