Read the other posts in this college soccer recruiting series on Defensive Center Midfielders, Goalkeepers, Center Backs, Outside Backs, Strikers, Wingers, and Attacking Center Midfielders.
Game footage is important for any position. If you’re thinking about playing college soccer, a highlight video will be a critical part of that process. College coaches have always heavily relied on video to recruit players, but the recent pandemic has accelerated the adoption of video by college athletic departments. At Trace, we sought out to revolutionize how college coaches access game video and to make it easier for players to share their best moments with college athletic departments (learn more about using Trace iD for recruiting).
In this post, we will cover the key things you should include when sending your game film to college coaches. In our recent workshop, former D1 Coach Michael Needham touched on the complex role of goalkeepers, “They are not just shot-stoppers. They are goalkeepers, and they have to play the position.” Keepers must showcase athleticism along with technical ability and mental preparedness.
The key things you should include when sending your goalkeeper highlight video to college coaches
- Shot stopping. This is the most obvious component you should include in your highlights. The “highlight reel save” might be an epic game-winning save, but it’s also important to show a more routine save. It can be tempting to send in a close-up of yourself when sending these clips, but all video of saves should show where the shot is coming from so that coaches have some context.
- Ability to read the game. Keepers have to manage difficult situations, work in coordination with your back four, intercept long passes played in behind, and quickly respond when balls are being slipped behind the back four. Show college coaches that you can make moves to protect the goal without having to make a save. “These are things that often go unseen, but they are very important,” states Michael Needham. Video of saves get a lot of love because they typically show raw athleticism, but college coaches will be even more impressed if you prove you can think critically before having to make a save.
- Ability to judge balls in the air. When the opposition kicks the ball high and long, can you judge the flight of the ball well and stop it from sailing way over your head? Can you make high ball decision decisions (whether to stick, catch, deflect, or punch) under pressure? Judging the ball in the air is something that comes with a lot of practice, so you should prove to coaches that you’ve honed your technique to a point that it has become second nature.
- Reaction speed, footwork, and balance. For the majority of college coaches, statistics are much less important than video. But showing your technical ability through your highlights will give you a leg up.
- Key goalkeeper skills. When you do drills, what are you trying to improve? You want to show college coaches what you’ve been working on, so it’s important to show movement, extension and collapse diving to both sides, turning, dealing with bouncing balls, re-loading, collecting, parrying, boxing, and other skills unique to the goalkeeper position.
- Your 1 vs. 1 ability. Are you aggressive off your line? Are you gauging your approach? How do you take the ball off of someone’s foot? Are you getting into the player’s feet at the right time?
- Your ability to manage the ball on the ground. If someone gives you a bad back pass, do you automatically run out and kick it as far as you can? Or can you prove that you are composed enough to take a touch and play out the other way?
- Your leadership. In many ways, goalkeepers are the default captain of the team. Prove that you are a coach for your back four. Are you telling them to press or to defend? Are you claiming high balls? Are you communicating how you’ll distribute the ball to your team? This doesn’t mean you have to scream and jump up and down. Goalkeepers
- Punting distance (if you have the ability). Most coaches put an onus on building out of the back. But if you have the ability to hit the ball 80 yards, that will change the dynamics of the game. If your opponent is pressing you and you show them you can kick the ball 80 yards, they won’t be pressing you anymore. That’s a strong advantage that will impress any college coach.
Watch a Sample Goalkeeper Highlight
What the Trace moment above shows college coaches: The ball builds through mid-field and ends up in a wide area. The keeper sees an early cross and makes a good decision to stay. Coaches are looking at the moments leading up to the big save to see how prepared she is before making the save. She confidently sets her feet and makes the save. This clip shows the goalkeepers awareness of the field, her attention to the game, and her preparedness, and her athletic ability.