Is Soccer Goalie A Good Position For Kids?

A lot of parents may actually want their kids to play soccer over other sports on the grounds that it can be potentially safer than sports like American football and hockey. Also, it can give kids a good workout since they’re going to be running up and down the field on practice days. That can make sure they’re tired when they get home and give mom and dad a break. If those are your reasons for wanting your kid to play soccer and then he or she comes home saying that they want to play goalkeeper you may feel like they’ve just gone and thrown a wrench into your whole plan. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it playing goalkeeper is probably more dangerous than other positions on the field. Especially when kids are the ones playing.

That extra sense of danger that you get can be a good thing though. Especially if you learn to channel it and teach it correctly. It is a fact that from a young age kids who play in goal are going to have to make those tough business decisions of should I go get that ball on the ground or in the air even though I know I could get hurt? Simply put there are developmental opportunities for kids that play goalkeeper. 

I mean in the sense of them developing as a person. That you don’t get with other positions, at least in soccer. In this article I’m going to dive deep into the goalkeeper mind. Of course, through tangible situations that are likely going to come up. Hopefully by the end you’ll get a better sense of whether or not it’s a good idea to have your kid stand between the sticks.

Kasey Keller coming to cut a cross

Is Soccer Goalie Really A Dangerous Position?

This is a tough a question to answer these days. I don’t want to sound like the old man yelling at people to get off his lawn. I don’t get the sense though that goalkeeper was thought of as a position that was “dangerous”. When you look at the reality of what you’re asked to do in the position it’s pretty clear that you’re at a greater risk of injury in many situations. That’s why there’s a saying that states, where a field player sticks his foot a goalkeeper has to put his face. That’s not just a saying, it’s actually a fact. If you’re going out for a ball in a 1v1 situation you may have to expose your face as you try and get your hands on the ball. 

Of course, there’s also a bigger toll on the body in a certain sense. As a field player you’re not going to be hitting the ground with your entire body on a consistent basis, and on purpose. You have to develop this technique to make sure that diving doesn’t become dangerous for you. In a strict sense we would have to admit that there are certain elements to goalkeeping that can in fact make it more dangerous than other positions. At the same time, if you look at the pro game goalkeeper is usually the position with the lowest turn over. That usually means the starter is not constantly injured and can go for years on end. For me that means that if you develop good technique you’ll find ways to take care of yourself and deal with the “dangers” of goalkeeping.   

young goalkeeper with fukk ooutfit and water bottle
Photo by Robo Michalec on

Your Kids May Get More Tired Than You Think

Some parents may be against their kids playing in goal because they get the sense that playing as goalkeepers won’t get them the workout that they need. I think this is a fair concern when you’re dealing with a volunteer coach. I don’t want to say a bad coach at the recreational level. In many ways though these coaches are trying to keep things together they best they can, and to be honest goalkeepers don’t get the attention that they may need. If you’re going to be paying for goalkeeper lessons though, and actual goalkeeper training I would argue that’s more demanding than regular training for field players.

Just think about it for a sec. Do you think that it’s easy to have to dive on to the ground and get back up over 100 times during a training session? When goalkeeping becomes a serious endeavor training really gets hard. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that you have to make a conscious decision to work harder than most field players and be ok with it. If you’re just treating goalkeeping as a hobby it can be a hard sell. You’re going to see a lot of your friends just coasting through soccer practice while you’re trying to pick yourself up off the ground. It does take a special kind of personality to be ok with that. At times though, if your kid knows this is his or her best chance to play they could be more willing to get on board.    

It Could Cost More Money

One of the things that you’re going to want to get used to as a parent of goalkeepers is that it costs more money than raising a field player. For field players you really only have the major expense of cleats. From there it’s really just shin guards that you have to buy for yourself. If you’re part of a team you’re likely going to get some gear in the form of shorts and socks to play and train with. Cleats can last you a season without too much trouble. Unless you happen to have an amazing growth spurt mid-season. By the way that can happen. For the most part though you don’t need as much gear and what you do need tends to have a much longer shelf life than things like goalkeeper gloves

I still use shorts and jerseys from when I was 15, and I’m now 30! When it comes to goalkeeper gloves though, I could not even recall what type of gloves I was wearing when I was 15. Another thing that I probably can’t recall is where all of those pairs of gloves ended up. For goalkeepers parents have to invest in pretty much all of the things that they would have to buy for a field player. Plus, you own jerseys, and pants. Those can last a lot longer, but it’s an extra expense nonetheless. When it comes to goalkeeper gloves if this goalkeeping thing gets serious you can expect to be purchasing a new pair about every 3 months. You’ll be spending an average of around 50 to 100 dollars every 3 months on gloves!     

What’s Worth Purchasing & What’s Not

Is there a way that you could some of your expense as a soccer goalkeeper parent? I would actually recommend that you get your own jerseys and gear. Especially if this goalkeeping thing is going to be a serious endeavor for your kid long term. If they feel that they could use some extra protection like knee or elbow pads that’s also something that you’re going to want to purchase yourself. I know some schools are supposed to provide all of the gear that the kids are going to need to play sports. The problem with gear that’s provided to you versus the gear that you buy is that when the gear is provided to you, you can’t make sure that the gear adapts to your needs.

Let’s say that the team is going to provide your kid with knee or elbow pads. There’s no guarantee that the person buying those pads had your kids size in mind when buying the gear. The same thing goes particularly for things like goalkeeper gloves. Plus, I’m always really grossed out about sharing gloves or pads. You don’t know personal hygiene habits were practiced by other people who wore the same gear. Obviously these things are not a one size fits all type of deal. So I would recommend purchasing at least the gloves and a few jerseys and pants. From there if you feel that you need any of the extra protective gear then go ahead and add it to the shopping list.      

Best Goalkeeper Gloves For Amateur Goalies

Why Decision-Making & Accountability Develop Faster For Goalkeepers

There are certain elements to goalkeeping that make it a good activity to help in your personal development. As someone who grew up playing the position from the age of 5 I would say that I had a chance to learn a lot of life lessons between the sticks. One of them being accountability. When you’re standing on your own as the last line of defense you know that anything that gets past you is a goal. When you make a mistake it’s clear for all to see that you’re responsible for that goal. That can be a lot to bare for some kids at a young age. If you’re able to take it in stride though you’ll learn a hard lesson in real life accountability. 

At the same time you’re constantly making decisions as a goalkeeper that are consequential to the outcome of the game. In fact your decisions tend to be way more consequential than the ones made by most of the other players. At the end of the day you have no choice, but to decide. If you spend enough time in goal there’s no question that your decision-making process in other aspects of life can be influenced by this. 

I know there are going to be some of you out there that think I’m taking things too deep with this. Think about it though, if this is an activity that you’re a part of from a young age there’s no question that it’s going to influence other parts of your life. I’m a firm believer that goalkeeping has formed a great deal of my personality. Like I’m saying here you learn life lessons from a young age from the practice. Whether you intend to or not.  

young athletes in the soccer field
Photo by Robo Michalec on

Does This Mean Goalkeepers Are Going To Fall Behind In The Play’s Well With Others Category? 

Can this be a genuine concern for some parents? I would think so. In my personal experience I was never the hyper social type. It very well could be that for that reason goalkeeping was a bit more appealing. At the same time I would agree that playing in any position out on the field other than goalkeeper is probably going to help you develop more people skills than goalkeeping ever will. If your main goal behind getting your kid into soccer is to make sure that he or she is socializing with people, goalkeeper may not be the position that you’ll want them to pick. Then again if they do pick the position, and they really like it, you may be able to work around that to help them socialize.  

Getting them into specialized goalkeeper training as part of a group of goalkeepers is a great workaround. In goalkeeper training what you’re doing is putting a lot of these odd characters that we goalkeepers are. When you see yourself around these people you see that you’re maybe not as odd or as alone as you think. Then in this smaller group with people that have an even more common interest than just really liking soccer your kid can begin to socialize. Maybe I’ve gone too far with some of these points. I do think though that there’s a lot more to goalkeeping and that it can have great benefits for kids. In ways that maybe aren’t evident from the outside looking in. 

Best Goalkeeper Gloves For Kids - What To Look For

Is Soccer Goalie A Good Position For Kids? – Conclusion 

Hopefully I’ve been able to paint a broad picture of soccer goalie not only as a position, but a way that it can impact the rest of your life. All of the things that I’m referencing here are life experiences. I’ve enjoyed the position so much in the last 25 plus years or so that I write about it all the time. I also know that it can be hard for parents who don’t fully understand the position to see the benefits that it can bring. If you think I’m bias you’re probably right! Whatever you decide for your kids or if you needed help understanding what they might go through in this path then I hope this has helped at least a little bit.