Goalkeeper is a difficult position. For one, there is only one goalkeeper on the pitch at a time. Unlike other positions, it is unlikely the goalkeeper will be substituted during a match unless an injury occurs. Secondly, the goalkeeper is one position in which a player’s physique really stands out. Often times, teams want their goalkeepers to look like a stereotypical shot stopper. Due to the desires of coaches and scouts, gaining a contract to play for a club as a goalkeeper isn’t easy. Last year, we interviewed professional goalkeeper Matt Perrella. He shared some great info on how difficult it can be to get a contract with a club as a goalkeeper.
So, What do scouts look for in goalkeepers at football trials?
According Healthfully, the average height of a Premier League and La Liga goalkeeper since 2010 is 1.89 metres, or 6ft 2in. If you take away La Liga from the average heights and just focus on the Premier League, the average height of a goalie is 1.92m, or 6ft 3in.
Unfortunately due to the average heights of goalkeepers in the top professional leagues, scouts and coaches look for players who are tall. You don’t have control over how tall you are, but you can make sure you are physically fit. Modern goalkeepers have to be in great shape, and in some cases, you may need to have better fitness than outfield players. If you don’t meet the height requirements, the rest of your physique and skills could make up for it.
Play the ball out
Goalkeepers need to be able to play the ball out from the back. No longer is kicking long balls down field to a No. 9 what scouts look for in a goalkeeper. Players need to be able to distribute the ball to defenders and midfielders, and goalkeepers must be capable of playing the ball with their feet. The position has evolved over the last two decades, and having ball skills like an outfield player is important in the modern age.
Communication with defenders
Being able to communicate with defenders is another key attribute you need to get signed by a professional club. Goalkeepers need to be able to organise their defenders on set pieces and during attacks. Coaches and scouts want to see a player that will take charge of his or her defence. Goalkeepers can’t be shy and must be ready to communicate all game long. Remember communicating to teammates isn’t about screaming and demeaning other players. Stay positive and be the voice that picks up your teammates and doesn’t bring them down.
Check out our follow up blog for more information in part 2 of What do scouts look for in goalkeepers at football trials?