“You know Hatch, to be honest, you don’t kick well. You don’t dribble well. But you could be a good goalie.” This is how Pele, the best player in the history of the game, detailed the position of goalie in the movie Victory.


The film received a PG rating in 1981 when it was released. I’m sure the rating would have been R if Pele had been allowed to properly express the feelings all soccer players hold in regards to goalies.

Goalies hate everyone and everything except for gloves. They love gloves. They spend more time with gloves than they do with a ball. They wear gloves before the game, after the game, and in the shower. I’ve seen goalies at social events wearing gloves. At least gloves cover the knuckles, most of which, when it concerns goalies, are raw from dragging the ground.

Goalies wear knee length ‘shorts’ and long sleeve shirts. Most wear shoes that are fastened by velcro. I’m told that’s because the gloves make it impossible to tie laces. At least that’s what they say.

When it comes to the game, goalies are soccer players only in an academic sense. Sure they stand (not run) on the field, but they don’t play the game. They play at playing the game. Sometimes they kick the ball but usually they punt it. Punting a soccer ball is not the same as kicking a soccer ball.

Goalies bark directions, blame somebody else when the ball gets by them, and feel lost when they travel beyond a 18 yard by 44 yard parcel of pitch.

There is no such thing as a change of destiny in regards to goalies. It’s like trying to change the destiny of bugs at a picnic. They buzz around until someone has enough and squashes them. That’s no bid deal, it’s only a goalie bug.

Last week my niece played her first soccer game. Before the game started she was asked what position she wanted to play. “Goalie,” was the answer. She refused to wear gloves. There’s hope.

Written by Matt Manna
Aug 15, 2009 • 006DB32E(R01)
Photo © Matt Manna • McManna.com

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