EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

What to do when your keeper is stranded in France

Sunday mornings always have the ability to throw up a challenge when the teams turn up for the match. This weekend was no exception.

England goalkeeper coach

I received an urgent message around 7am on a morning when the clocks had gone back so it was feeling somewhat peeved that what had promised to be a rare lie in turned into a “where’s the goalie” competition.

However, the goalie was not going to be found as she was with her family stranded in France as they had missed the ferry back home. Not only that but the manager of the team had injured his foot and couldn’t walk so he was not able to get to the game.

Putting all this behind them the girls all volunteered to go in goal and we chose two of them to share the responsibility and we could work on the game from there.

Undaunted they took the field and promptly scored with their first attack and never looked back – well I say never looked back but with 10 minutes to go and leading 5-1 they let a couple of late goals in which gave everyone a scare but held on for a victory against the odds.

Team spirit won in the end

The pleasing thing about the players was that once they had learned the news that their brilliant goalkeeper couldn’t play there heads didn’t drop, no one started moaning and groaning and the spirit of the team took them through. It is always great to see that happen.

And certainly it was also down to the help of two dads who rolled their sleeves up and did the match day management that needed doing including encouraging from the sidelines and looking after the substitutes.

It is only in times of last minute problems the importance of the parents can be seen when they all get motivated and ensure the game goes ahead despite the problems surrounding it.

Team spirit is something that cannot be overlooked especially early season when the first few games usually highlight what needs to be worked on with the team in training and which players are confident of their ability to play the game.

It helps to see happy smiling faces and lots of laughter in the warm ups. I hate to see players shoulders dropping even before the game has started. In this team all the girls get on well and no one puts themselves above anyone else – it makes it easy to coach them.

The number of hands that went up to cover in goal was fantastic – even though some of them have never played in goal before.

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