What is a Goalkeeper in Soccer? (Their Roles Explained)

In soccer (football) games, goalkeepers play a distinctive and vital function. They keep the defense in check, make saves, and even punt the ball to the midfielders to keep it away from the goal.

Because they protect the net, the goalie’s role is distinct from that of the other field players. Let’s take a closer look at a goalie’s position in soccer, as well as the laws that they must obey.

How Many Soccer Goalies can a Team Have on the Field?

Each team has 11 players at the start of the game, and one member from each team must serve as the goalkeeper during the game. If a goalkeeper on a team is injured or receives a red card, another player takes his position on the pitch.

This player can be a substitute or another player from the pitch who must switch positions. Each side is limited to one goalkeeper.

What Makes a Good Goalkeeper in Soccer?

It takes a lot of skill, strength, training, concentration, and strong leadership to be a good goalkeeper. Goalies have a superior perspective of the field, which allows them to better position the other players and lead the team to victory.

Defensive players, for example, can be taught how to defend against corner, free, and indirect kicks. But a goalkeeper learns to stop the ball from entering his own goal post.

Can a Soccer Goalkeeper Touch the Ball with Their Hands?

Only within their own penalty area can a goaltender touch the ball with their hands. Penalty areas, sometimes known as penalty boxes, are designated zones at the end of each soccer field.

A penalty box is 18 yards long and extends 18 yards into the field on either side of a goal. Goalkeepers have the ability to leave the penalty area, but once they do, they are treated the same as any other player on the field.

Hence, they are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands outside the 18-yard box. Else it will be a foul against them.

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However, the goalkeeper may dribble the ball back into his box before picking it up and punting it down the field.

When Can a Goalkeeper Not Use Their Hands?

A Goalkeeper is not allowed to carry the ball with his hands when a player on his team kicks the ball back to him (also known as the back pass rule). In this scenario, he is expected to punt the ball or play a pass away from his post.

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Similarly, if his teammate throws the ball directly at him during a throw-in, the Goalie is not allowed to catch it with his hands.

How Long Can the Goalie Hold on to the Ball?

If a goalie does not release the ball within 6 seconds of gaining control of it, the game will be stopped and the goalie will be warned for wasting time. An indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opponent in this circumstance.

Because other players may not head or kick the ball while it is in the goaltender’s possession, this regulation prevents the goalie from keeping possession of the ball throughout the game.

Lastly, Goalkeepers cannot drop the ball and re-pick it immediately. Once they drop the ball, the will either punt it to the opponent’s half or make a pass to their teammate.

Can a Goalie Score a Goal in Soccer?

A goalkeeper can score a goal for his team without using his hands. Below are the scenarios under which a goalie’s goal can stand as a legal goal during a game;

1. Goal kick- A goaltender can score from a goal kick, just like a free-kick, corner kick, or penalty kick.

2. A drop kick or a kick out of a goalkeeper’s hands that results in a goal is legal.

3. An own goal occurs when a goalkeeper, like any other player on the pitch, kicks or passes the ball into his or her own net, resulting in a legitimate goal for the opposing team.

In this case, if he catches the ball in his hand and mistakenly throws it into his net, the goal will still count against his team. This is the only legal goal in football that can be scored with the hand.

How many steps is a goalie allowed to take after collecting the ball?

Many years ago, the goalkeeper in soccer was limited to “four steps” while holding the ball. However, that has Long since changed.

From the moment that the goalkeeper gains full control of the ball in his hands, he has six seconds to start the punting or throwing motion.

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The actual soccer law stipulates that the goalkeeper has six seconds to put the ball back into play. Hence, if the goalie is taking longer than that, and upon repetition, the referee will award an indirect free kick to the opposing team.

Who Has the Most Goals as a Goalie in Soccer History?

Between 1990 and 2015, Rogério Ceni scored 131 goals as a goalkeeper, making him the goalie with the highest goal in soccer history. Jose Luis Chilavert, with 67 goals, is in the second position.

Can a Goalie Use Their Hands to Score a Goal?

Goalies, like any other team member, are penalized if they score a goal with their hands or arms. It wouldn’t count if a goaltender threw the ball into the opponent’s goal from their end of the field.

What Does the Goalie Do During a Penalty Kick?

During a penalty kick, a goaltender must stay on the goal line. If the opposition team is taking a penalty shot, a goalie is required;

1. Remain on the goal line
2. Face the player shooting,
3. Remain between the goalposts
4. Not touch the goalposts, crossbar, or goal net until the shooter kicks the ball

Can Another Player Swap Positions with the Goalie?

Every team normally has a backup goalie; however, each game is limited to three replacements. After telling the referee, any player already on the field can swap roles with the goaltender if he or she is unable to continue playing after the third substitution.

How Do you Calculate a Goalie’s Save Percentage in Soccer?

The number of saves is divided by the total number of shot attempts to obtain the soccer goalie save percentage.

For example, if during one season, a goalkeeper faces 225 shots and made 165 saves, his percentage save will be calculated as shown below;

165 ÷ 225 × 100 =73.33%. Hence, his percentage save for the season will be 73.33%.

Why Do Goalkeepers Wear Different Colors?

Goalies must wear jerseys that are distinct from those of their teammates and recognizable from those of the referee, other game officials, and opposition players on the field.

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This rule is in place because goalies have a unique role during the game and different colors make it easier for the goalie to be identified and stand apart from other players.

Why Do Goalkeepers Wear Long Sleeves?

Long sleeves are worn by goalies to protect their forearms and elbows. Padding is used on the sleeves to provide support and protect against injuries.

When the ball bounces against jersey materials rather than the goalie’s skin after a save, the ball has a larger possibility of bouncing further away from the goal.

Long sleeves can also make a goalkeeper appear larger, intimidating the opposition striker. Furthermore, because long sleeve material absorbs perspiration efficiently, it can be useful for wiping sweat and staying fresh during the game.

Why Do Goalkeepers Spit on their Gloves?

Few people are aware that goalkeepers are not required to wear gloves in soccer, yet they are highly recommended. Synthetic foam, latex, and similar materials make up the majority of the gloves worn.

This material’s cellular structure creates minuscule suction cups on the surface. The adhesive properties of a suction cup are improved by wetting it.

Spitting into their gloves, on the other hand, makes it easier for goalies to handle the ball since saliva is a good adhesive and a continual source of moisture throughout the game.

Prior to goalkeepers using gloves, some goalkeepers, like Gordon Banks, chewed gum and spit it on their hands to make them sticky.

Check out some of the best Glove Recommendation Suitable for Goalies.

EndNote: What is a Goalkeeper in Soccer?

In summary, one of the eleven soccer players on the field is the goalkeeper. They defend the goal against an opposing team attempting to score.

They’re especially more important in a shootout because it’s up to them to keep the ball out of the net. Goalies can score goals during a soccer match, albeit it is uncommon to observe.

Interesting Soccer Facts:

1. Atletico Madrid Facts, Net Worth, Stadium and Club History

2. How Big is a Soccer Field?

3. What is Offsides in Soccer?

4. What is a Pitch in Soccer?