I have been asked this question in many different ways by people new to soccer, and some not so new.

Actually, this is an interesting question that allows me to explain the demands of being a goalkeeper.

Tony DiCicco, coach of the United States 1999 Women’s World Cup champions and director of NSCAA’s Goalkeeping Academy has commented that goalkeeping is 80% off the ball, which is when goalkeepers are not making saves.

Fans, parents and coaches can relate to great saves and goals given up, but that is only about 20% of a goalkeeper’s responsibilities.

Understanding what a goalkeeper does during a game when not making saves may be interesting and educational for most soccer fans, but it is essential knowledge for young goalkeepers.

The goalkeeper is the only player on a team who has a view of the entire field. They see both offensive and defensive plays develop more clearly than any of their teammates can.

As readily seen in soccer games on TV, goalkeepers are continually shouting instructions to their teammates. Field players are alerted to attacking opportunities and defenders are instructed to cover open attackers. The leadership of top goalkeepers elevates the play of their team by adding to their confidence.

In addition to being the last line of defense, goalkeepers routinely initiate attacks after making a save by passing to a teammate and directing the play. Tim Howard initiated the winning stoppage time goal against Algeria in the 2010 Men’s World Cup. Anyone with an understanding of goalkeeping understood that an attack had started off of a save.

It is essential that goalkeepers understand the importance of their leadership to a team.

In addition to teaching the physical skills of goalkeeping, Just4Keepers’ training insures that their students become complete goalkeepers.