So I was watching Tuesday’s USA Women’s World Cup semi-final between USA and Germany at one of my favorite sports pubs along with a hundred or so other soccer enthusiasts. We were all pumped up for what was sure to be great game between two high quality, world class teams. And it was nice to see that the match did not disappoint!
I found myself in an awkward position early on in the match. During the 15th minute the German Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made an incredible kick save vs. Alex Morgan from a point blank range! I began screaming, “What a Save, What a Save!!!” and clapping my hands in appreciation. This guy at a nearby table looked at me with a scouring face. “Who the (heck) are you rooting for?” as I sit in my USA jersey. “Oh”, I replied. “I’m a goalkeeper’s coach and can’t help but get excited when I see an awesome save like that, sorry” He had a few other choice words for me before we turned our attention back to the game.
Sorry, even when I am on the field playing and the opposing keeper makes a great save, I let everyone know by cheering for them. I do this for any keeper, on any field, at any age group. Why? Because I know what it takes to reach that point. Some say it is luck (and I will never refute that it is always good to be lucky). But I also know that for Nadine to make that save, she spent years of training on, reaction saves from point blank range, proper positioning to make sure she was at the right spot when the shot came, incredible footwork to get her to that spot in time and commanding communication to her defense before the shot comes to limit the possibilities and after the save was made for proper clearance. I know how hard Goalkeepers at the highest levels must train to master the profession.
So when you see the guy wearing the USA shirt on Sunday and scream in appreciation of an acrobatic save that Fukumoto might make…… please don’t hold it against them. They just might be a J4K coach who knows what it takes to make that save!! I promise…they will cheer just as loud for Hope Solo ?