Extending the Goalkeepers Range - Sweeper Keeper

 Goalkeeper Tactics - Sweeper Keeper

The days of the goalkeeper simply being someone who stops shots at the goal are long over. The modern goalkeeper must be able to play as well outside of the Penalty Area as he does inside it.

He must be willing to venture outside of the Penalty Area to intercept long through balls played between or over the fullback line. He must be able to clear the ball first time, or control it and try to maintain possession via a short pass or a long ball.

Sometimes he may even be called upon to use his head to clear a ball bouncing dangerously outside of the Penalty Area!

He must be willing to accept back-passes from his teammates and deal with them in an effective manner.

Goalkeeper - Tomasz Kuszczak

Today`s goalkeeper must be 'a player first and a goalkeeper second'. He must be a `Sweeper Keeper`.

 Goalkeeper Ready Position - Shot Stopper


When faced with balls that are NOT within shooting range and balls that are NOT positioned on the wings, meaning balls anywhere else on the field (purple area), the goalkeeper should utilize ' Ready Position #3 - Sweeper Keeper '.

The goalkeeper should stand with one foot in front of the other, similar to sprinters starting position.

Hands are held at waist height (half-way between the ground and the head).Palms should be forward and fingers pointing up.

The goalkeepers body weight should be forward and he should be balanced on the balls of his feet.

The goalkeeper should concentrate on pushing off the front leg when he begins to sprint forward to intercept a through ball or when he sprints backwards to recover into the goal.

Sweeper Keeper Figure One

In order to be an effective 'Sweeper Keeper', the goalkeeper must position himself properly on the field. To do this he must be able to use his imagination.

The goalkeeper must picture an imaginary line (blue line) running from the center of the ball to the center of the goal. The goalkeeper must always position himself along this line.

Sweeper Keeper Figure Two

The goalkeeper can then use his imagination to visualize a mini soccer field inside his own Penalty Area. This mini field should be as wide as the six yard box and extend all the way out to the edge of the Penalty Arc ("The D").

The goalkeeper will use this mini field to determine exactly how far out of the goal he needs to stand. Wherever the ball is located on the actual field, the goalkeeper will then stand the same distance in his mini field.

Sweeper Keeper Figure Three

Here we see the ball positioned at the corner of the opponents Penalty Area. The goalkeeper has taken up a position along the dissecting line (blue line) and is standing at the edge of the opponents Penalty Area in his mini-field.

Sweeper Keeper Figure Four

Here we see the ball positioned for a corner kick (along the Goal Line). The goalkeeper has taken up a position along the dissecting line (blue line) and is standing at the very edge (Goal Line) in his mini-field. 

Sweeper Keeper Figure Five

Here we see the ball positioned at the half way line of the field. The goalkeeper has taken up a position along the dissecting line (blue line) and is standing at the half way line in his mini-field.


By employing the tactic of always positioning the same distance in his mini-field as the position of the ball on the actual field the goalkeeper will always be in the best position to intercept the ball when required or recover back into the goal to prepare for any other situations.

The ball rarely stops moving in a game which means the goalkeeper must be in constant motion and always re-adjusting his positioning. This will ensure that the goalkeeper stays focused and warm for the entire length of the game.

The goalkeeper will find himself spending more time outside of the Penalty Area and becoming a more active and productive member of the team. He will turn potentially dangerous situations into advantages for his own team. Most importantly he will begin to eliminate goal scoring opportunities before they happen.

Here is a great article on 'Staying Connected to the Game'. A must read for all 'Sweeper Keepers'.

"The team who cannot shoot, cannot score. The team who cannot score, cannot win!"

Keep in mind the tactics recommended above are only effective for balls that are NOT within shooting range, or balls that are NOT in a position to be crossed into the penalty area!

For these situations the goalkeeper must adopt different tactics. For more details on the various tactics and when to use them go to goalkeeper 'Ready Positions'.


Game Footage



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