On this page, we're going to take a look at goalkeepers and the language that is used to describe them. The goalkeeper is often seen as the most important player on the pitch. There is no hiding place for a goalkeeper. If you make a mistake, it can cost your team the match.
Are there any other names for a goalkeeper?
A goalkeeper can be more informally called a keeper or a goalie. When a ball comes into the penalty area you might hear a goalkeeper shout ‘keeper’s ball’, this means that the goalkeeper is coming off his line to catch or punch the ball. Goalie is more informal than goalkeeper and keeper, and is usually used by fans and children.
David De Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
What qualities do good goalies need?
To be a good keeper you need to have specific qualities. You need to be reliable - you can’t make great saves one week and then make lots of mistakes in the next match. You need to have good reflexes, which is the ability to react quickly. A goalkeeper needs to be decisive - when a ball comes into the box, a keeper needs to decide to come off his line or stay on his line and also needs to decide if he is going to catch or punch the ball. When he makes these decisions he shouldn’t change his mind. A goalkeeper needs to be agile - he needs to move quickly and easily to make saves and stop the ball. A good keeper also has very good organisational skills. When there is a free kick or a corner, it’s often the goalkeeper's job to organise the wall and tell defenders where to stand and who to mark.
How can you describe a save?
Goalkeepers make different types of saves, they might make a fingertip save, when just a touch of a finger means the ball goes over the bar instead of in the top corner. A keeper can turn the ball over the bar or turn it around the post. A keeper who makes lots of saves is often described as a good shot-stopper, but you also need a keeper who is good at catching crosses and distributing the ball.
Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel and Manchester City's Joe Hart are good friends off the pitch.
Are there different types of keeper?
Some goalkeepers are described as sweeper keepers these days, like Germany’s Manuel Neuer. A sweeper keeper is a goalie who defends outside of his box to stop attackers getting the ball. Sweeper keepers are usually excellent at long passes to start attacks and throwing the ball out to teammates.
What's the most important thing for a goalkeeper?
The most important thing for a goalkeeper is to keep a clean sheet. A clean sheet is when you don’t concede a goal during a match. In 2015/16, Arsenal’s Petr Cech kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League (16). If the goalkeeper keeps a clean sheet it means the team hasn’t lost!
Think about vocabulary
Now you've looked at the text about goalkeepers, look at the words in bold again. Do you understand the words in bold? Look at the whole sentence around each word to help you understand. It can also help to use your knowledge of football. Think about what goalkeepers do on the pitch. Does this also help your understanding?
Have a look at the activity below and check your understanding of the actions goalkeepers do and the words that are used to describe them.