World Cup Goalkeepers Asking For Goals to Be Bigger

Everybody Soccer is a site that mostly covers non-fiction goalkeeping events. Occasionally we’ll see a satirical piece to offer some more variety, like this article here as well as some interviews with MLS goalkeepers from the past couple years. All quotes here are fictitious. Cover photo from Slate.com.


After a stunning display against defending champions the United States, Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler sparked some controversy with her post-game remarks.

“It was a good game. I felt really confident with how I played. But to be honest I would have liked to see what I can do with a bigger goal.”

The US jumped out to an early lead, scoring three goals just 35 minutes into the game. On the heels of a new World Cup scoring record of 13 in the previous game against Thailand, it looked like the US was pushing for another double-digit scoreline. However Endler had other plans, repeatedly turning down scoring chance after scoring chance.

“There was one save I had in the second half, against Christen Press, where I had the shot covered so well I started thinking, ‘You know, the Texas state flag does look a lot like ours. I wonder if that was on accident or if they’re just big fans.’ And then I made the save.”

Chile isn’t the only country who has displayed great goalkeeping this world cup; Jamaica boasted newcomer Sydney Schneider, who quickly made her name known after her performance against Brazil. The nineteen-year-old’s showing went viral after the collegiate-athlete shut down a number of dangerous opportunities for the Brazilians, despite the loss.

Jamaican goalkeeper Sydney Schneider will return to UNC Wilmington this fall, where much controversy surrounds the height and width of the Seahawks’ goal frames.

Jamaican goalkeeper Sydney Schneider will return to UNC Wilmington this fall, where much controversy surrounds the height and width of the Seahawks’ goal frames.

“In college, we play with the same size goals,” Schneider said. “They’re 8 feet high. I thought at the World Cup we’d be playing on bigger goals. I was actually a little disappointed to see they were the same size.”

Not to be outdone, veteran goalkeeper Vanina Correa has made Argentina proud after allowing only one goal against Japan and England, two teams who finished second and third in the 2015 edition of the World Cup.

Correa shares what has made her so successful this summer, “I can save most high shots by sticking my hands up. And for the ones I can’t quite get by standing, I just jump. The goals could be bigger. Japan and England could certainly use the help.”

But not everyone is in favor of the new change. Italian goalkeeper Laura Giuliani has spoken out that there would be some unintended consequences if the goal dimensions were adjusted.

“If we make the goal bigger, the nets won’t fit. And then we’ll have some really big problems on our hands,” Giuliani said.

2019 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Race

cover photo from US Sports Guru

This season Everybody Soccer will be tracking the top MLS goalkeepers with Goals Saved Above Replacement. Check out last year’s ratings with an explanation at how we arrived at a single, compact number. For more detail statistics on each goalkeeper, click here to view the web page which breaks down each goalkeeper’s contributions into seven categories, week-by-week performances, and how much they deserve to be paid.

Last Updated May 14, 2019

RankGSARKeeperTeam Mins GSAR/90
1 3.73 Maxime Crepeau VAN 1170 0.29
2 2.66 Tyler Miller LAFC 1350 0.18
3 1.69 David Ousted CHC 1170 0.13
4 1.36 David Bingham LAG 1260 0.10
5 0.95 Jeff Attinella POR 720 0.12
6 0.52 Luis Robles RBNY 1170 0.04
7 0.38 Daniel Vega SJ 1170 0.03
8 0.14 Sean Johnson NYC 1080 0.01
9 -0.23 Tim Howard CLR 1170 -0.02
10 -0.29 Zack Steffen CLB 1080 -0.02
11 -0.53 Andre Blake PHI 756 -0.06
12 -0.82 Jose Luis Gonzalez FCD 1170 -0.06
13 -1.04 Brad Guzan ATL 1170 -0.08
14 -1.11 Bill Hamid DC 1350 -0.07
15 -1.13 Joe Willis HOU 1080 -0.09
16 -1.50 Spencer Richey CIN 990 -0.14
17 -1.66 Stefan Frei SEA 1260 -0.12
18 -1.77 Evan Bush MON 1350 -0.12
19 -1.82 Nick Rimando RSL 810 -0.20
20 -2.16 Vito Mannone MIN 1170 -0.17
21 -2.41 Brian Rowe OCSC 1170 -0.19
22 -2.94 Tim Melia SKC 990 -0.27
- 1.68 Steve Clark POR 360 0.42
- 1.28 Carlos PHI 319 0.36
- 0.69 Matt Freese PHI 185 0.34
- 0.24 Adrian Zendejas SKC 90 0.24
- 0.23 Kenneth Kronholm CHC 90 0.23
- 0.14 Jimmy Maurer FCD 90 0.14
- -0.09 Jon Kempin CLB 90 -0.09
- -0.22 Andrew Putna RSL 360 -0.06
- -0.23 Zac MacMath VAN 180 -0.12
- -0.49 Greg Ranjitsingh OCSC 90 -0.49
- -0.53 Ryan Meara RBNY 90 -0.53
- -0.71 Joe Bendik CLB 180 -0.36
- -1.24 Quentin Westberg TOR 630 -0.18
- -1.32 Alex Bono TOR 540 -0.22
- -1.48 Przemyslaw Tyton CIN 270 -0.49
- -1.52 Brad Knighton NE 394 -0.35
- -2.26 Matt Turner NE 326 -0.62
- -2.40 Cody Cropper NE 630 -0.34

US Soccer Still Searching For Goalkeeper Identity

cover photo from FIFA.com

After another successful World Cup run for the US U20s, the US fell short in a tightly contested 2-1 loss to Ecuador. Despite this being the third consecutive U20 tournament where the US reached the quarterfinals, the goalkeeping situation left a familiar, unsatisfactory taste for most viewers. Since the turn of the century, American goalkeepers have largely struggled at the youth tournament, if not the professional scene as well. Jonathan Klinsmann and Cody Cropper performed well under par in 2017 and 2013, respectively. Zac MacMath (2011), Sean Johnson (2009), Chris Seitz (2007), Quentin Westberg (2005), Steve Cronin (2003), and DJ Countess (2001) would receive many accolades in their youth but all would go on to have polarizing professional careers. With more goalkeepers sinking than swimming during and after the U20 tournament - 2015 standout Zack Steffen being the rare exception - the problem can be linked to a lack of a consistent identity within the position.

Throughout the history of American goalkeepers, it’s hard to pin down just exactly what makes up an American style. At best, they can be best described as converted basketball players. As many former American goalkeepers pointed out in a previous interview, many looked forward to summer camps as their main chance to hear new information on the position. In spite of no consistent, high-end training environments, the typically multi-sport American goalkeeper would have exemplary hands and possessed a physically dominating athleticism. But the similarities ended there. Looking across the modern era, it’s easy to see that American goalkeepers come in all sorts of molds. Some are short, some are aggressive, some are good with their feet, and some are none of the above. From Steve Clark to Ashlyn Harris to Nick Rimando to Katelyn Rowland, there are a wide variety of styles within the professional goalkeeping scene.

The lack of goalkeeping identity has plagued not only the men’s U20 teams but all aspects of goalkeeping in the country. National team coaches have long debated as to whose style would best complement the team. On the men’s side, Tim Howard would play deep into the 2018 World Cup cycle, long past his prime, simply because there wasn’t a clear successor. Brad Guzan is almost the exact opposite goalkeeper as Howard and wasn’t a natural fit. After the Hope Solo era with the USWNT, many were slow to draw any comparison from Alyssa Naeher to Solo, with Ashlynn Harris being another wildly different goalkeeper. In the college game, coaches’ desired qualities for their starting goalkeeper vary from school-to-school, largely due to most having little or no background with goalkeeping. Youth and club goalkeeper coaches are, for the most part, developing players on an island, without any input or gauge from a recognized authority on what is correct.

Confusion over goalkeeper development has rippled far off the field as well. USSF licensing has barely broached the issues and while the USC has done their best to offer an open, discussion-oriented setting, ultimately it leaves applicants to simply taking note of different approaches instead of getting coaches on the same page. The media cannot keep pace with understanding what a good American goalkeeper looks like as it’s been a moving target. For one cycle, the US will field a “calm, composed goalkeeper who is a strong shot-stopper”. The next cycle they’ll turn to a “brave, aggressive goalkeeper who’s not afraid to challenge a cross”. Vague anecdotes run rampant in post-game write-ups and in-game commentary, praising a goalkeeper for whatever the observer notices. With everyone pointing different directions, there are no wrong answers but there are no right answers either.

For most of soccer’s history in the US, the country was plagued with not having enough goalkeeper coaches to foster a positive training environment. Now the pendulum has swung the opposite direction as coaching education is so widely available that we have an abundance of differing philosophies when it comes to goalkeeper development. This excess in opinions and loss of leadership from the USSF has led the landscape to develop every type of goalkeeper, instead of repeating known successes. When looking at other nations with top goalkeeping cores, there is a general mold their goalkeepers are in line with but the US’s lack of a team identity has bled over to the goalkeeping position. The absence of such a goalkeeper mold begs the question, “Why aren’t we modeling goalkeepers after Howard? Or Friedel? Scurry? Solo?”

Photo from  soccerwire.com

Photo from soccerwire.com

Rewinding back to the most recent U20 tournament, US head coach Tab Ramos struggled to sort out the number one position, which is odd given the team’s success in the tournament. Despite starting Brady Scott in the win over the expected winner (France), Ramos removed Scott for Real Salt Lake’s David Ochoa after many were underwhelmed with Scott’s performances in the tournament. The switch ultimately proved ineffective as Ochoa appeared awkward and uncomfortable when he was called upon during the game. Ochoa panicked multiple times when receiving a back-pass, displayed some dangerous hesitancy when coming off his line, and was severely out of position on the opening goal. Most of the problems Ochoa faced were not technical or mechanical issues, but tactical decisions, highlighting the point that he was unsure of how an American goalkeeper should play with this specific team. After two unsuccessful attempts to find a confident goalkeeper to lead the US, only Benfica’s CJ dos Santos was left minute-less by the end of the tournament, likely due to dos Santos’ aggressive, sweeper keeper tendencies being foreign to the coach who played alongside Tony Meola for most of his career. Out of three very different goalkeepers, none of them seemed to fit within the system.

For nearly every U20 goalkeeper, their development path will be littered with a dozen different goalkeeper coaches before they turn 25, each one emphasizing what they best see fit. While every goalkeeper coach would agree the main priority for an American goalkeeper is to keep the ball out of the net, the troubling dissonance is found in what constitutes as doing just that. Should American goalkeepers be aggressive on crosses? Are sweeper keepers a better fit? Do coaches want to see more catches or parries? What is the US’s stance on implementing foot saves as a major factor for low saves? How should goalkeepers approach 1v1s? After not having a Director of Goalkeeping within USSF since 2005, should the federation look to fill the vacancy with one of the many qualified coaches throughout the country? Finding answers to these questions is not the problem, but the lack of the USSF’s direction with goalkeeper development is.

Top 60 USWNT Goalkeepers - April 2019

cover photo from the NWSL

The 2019 World Cup kicks off June 7th, with the United States waiting to play their first game on the 11th against Thailand. Teams must submit a preliminary roster by April 26th, featuring no more than 50 players. Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, and Adrianna Franch are the frontrunners for the three final roster spots while dark horse candidate Jane Campbell could see her name on the preliminary roster spot.

# - listed as trailist on NWSL preseason roster
^ - recently finished collegiate eligibility

1. Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) - 31
2. Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit) - 27
3. Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) - 33
4. Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns) - 28
5. Haley Kopmeyer (Orlando Pride) - 28
6. Katie Fraine (Vaxjo / Sweden.1) - 31
7. Britt Eckerstrom (Portland Thorns) - 25
8. Michelle Betos (Seattle Reign) - 31
9. Lindsey Harris (Klepp / Norway.1) - 25
10. Nicole Barnhart (Utah Royals) - 37

One to Watch: Audrey Bledsoe. 2018 was a busy year for Bledsoe. Despite the poor team performance, Bledsoe was named the 2018 Washington Spirit team MVP, set the NWSL record for most saves in a year, and is fresh off of winning Australia’s W-League with Sydney FC. The key to Bledsoe’s success can be found in her footwork, maintaining impeccable balance and never going to ground too early. Routinely she finds a way to displace a shot that would slip most goalkeepers almost solely because of her ability to move herself from post-to-post. For a national team that has struggled with stability in the back, Bledsoe would be a great addition as her consistency is tops in the league, rarely conceding a poor goal despite being on a 2 win team in 2018.

11. Bryane Heaberlin (FFC Frankfurt / Germany.1) - 25
12. Emily Dolan (Real Betis / Spain.1) - 24
13. Christina Dineson (Assi / Sweden.2) - 26
14. Abby Smith (Utah Royals) - 25
15. Kelsey Wys (Washington Spirit#) - 28
16. Tori Ornela (IA / Iceland.1) - 27
17. Audrey Baldwin (Free Agent) - 27
18. Megan Dorsey (Sparta Praha / Czech Republic.1) - 27
19. Jane Campbell (Houston Dash) - 24
20. Emily Armstrong (IBV / Iceland.1) - 25

One to Watch: Jane Campbell. At one time Campbell was the apparent heir to the USWNT starting spot but after a polarizing season and a half in the league, fans are starting to notice the one-step-forward-one-step-backwards trend. Unfortunately, 2019 hasn’t started off any different from last year. After a near positive opener against the Seattle Reign, her sloppy footwork forces a turnover and penalty in the dying minutes of a tied match. She makes a wonderful penalty save to put herself back on even ground. She’s still fairly young (turning 24 this past February) and has a world of talent up her sleeve, but if she can’t stop routinely shooting herself in the foot, the national team may look elsewhere for the number one position.

21. Sammy Jo Prudhomme (Washington Spirit#) - 25
22. Adelaide Gay (North Carolina FC#) - 29
23. Lauren Watson (Assi / Sweden.2) - 25
24. Jennifer Pelley (Djurgården / Sweden.2) - 25
25. Lucy Gillett (Crystal Palace / England.2) - 25
26. Katelyn Rowland (North Carolina FC) - 25
27. Jillian McVicker (IK Myran / Finland.1) - 25
28. Caitlyn Clem (UMF Selfoss / Iceland.2) - 24
29. Alex Godinez (Pachuca / Mexico.1) - 25
30. Brett Maron (Kristianstad / Sweden.1) - 32

One to Watch: Jillian McVicker. The Ohio State Buckeye has a large task in front of her: keep Myran in the topflight. After an 18-2-2 run to earn promotion from the second division, Myran brought in McVicker to bolster the squad a little more. McVicker has some Champions League experience under her belt, playing for Romania’s Olimpia Cluj back in 2017. If McVicker is able to keep Myran afloat, she may find herself moving up to a higher profile club. If not, Myran fans might only remember the first division as a passing moment.

31. Mallory Lieberman (AS Saint-Étienne / France.1) - 23
32. Lauren Clem (Uppsala / Sweden.2) - 23
33. Cassie Miller (PSV Eindhoven / Netherlands.1) - 24
34. Casey Murphy (Montpellier / France.1) - 23
35. Emily Boyd (Chicago Red Stars) - 22
36. Danielle Rice (Örebro / Sweden.1) - 23
37. Morgan Bertsch (SC Braga / Portugal.1) - 23
38. Courtney Brosnan (Le Havre / France.2) - 23
39. Alison Jahansouz (Chicago Red Stars#) - 23
40. Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns) - 23

One to Watch: Emily Boyd. Alyssa Naeher is likely to miss four or five games with Chicago due to the World Cup starting in early June, which will leave the Red Stars turning to 22 year old Emily Boyd in the mean time. Admittedly, Boyd isn’t exceptionally quick but where she lacks in agility she more than makes up for in strength and bravery. Boyd won’t takes Naeher’s starting spot for a couple more years, but these handful of games are crucial for her development and hopefully preparing for the changing of the guards in 2022, unless she impresses the front office to make the switch sooner.

41. Rachel Egyed (Hapoel Ra’Anana AFC / Israel.1) - 23
42. Megan Hinz (Chicago Red Stars#) - 23
43. Anna Buhigas (Tavagnacco / Italy.1) - 24
44. Hannah Seabert (Fortuna Hjorring / Denmark.1) - 24
45. Ella Dederick (Washington State) - 22
46. Jalen Tompkins (University of Colorado) - 22
47. Courtney Hofer (Empoli / Italy.1) - 23
48. Kate Mason (Telge United FF / Sweden.3) - 23
49. Lainey Burdett (Orlando Pride) - 22
50. Caroline Brockmeier (LSU^) - 22

One to Watch: Ella Dederick. After seeing her senior season cut short due to an ACL tear in September, Dederick has been granted a medical redshirt and will be back with the Cougars this fall. Needless to say, questions will surround Dederick’s power and agility but few are doubting her desire to finish her collegiate career on a strong note. The 2020 goalkeeper draft class will be a crowded one, even more so with Dederick joining in, but if there’s one goalkeeper up for the challenge it’s Dederick.

51. Phallon Tullis-Joyce (Stade de Reims / France.1) - 22
52. Kelsey Daugherty (North Carolina FC#) - 22
53. Cosette Morche (Houston Dash#) - 21
54. Kaelyn Johns (Dayton^) - 22
55. Devon Kerr (Houston Dash) - 22
56. Mikayla Krzeczowski (University of South Carolina) - 21
57. Samantha Leshnak (North Carolina FC#) - 22
58. Shae Yanez (Washington Spirit) - 21
59. Brooke Heinsohn (Duke) - 21
60. Kaylie Collins (USC) - 20

One to Watch: Mikayla Krzeczowski. Ask any coach and they’ll say Krzeczowski’s a little undersized for the next level. Displaying a stunning ability to react and read oncoming plays, her senior year will be held under a microscope to see how well she can cover the top third of the net. The 5’6” goalkeeper hasn’t shown much reluctance to challenge opposition in the air so far, but nevertheless the stigma of short goalkeepers is one that filters a number out of the league. If she can display a true commanding presence of the box and ability to cover the bar, she should hear her name called in the 2020 draft.