Goalkeeper Playmaker, Playmaker Goalkeeper

Thomas Billac Toffa Leave a Comment

The game of football is played 11 vs 11, whether a team is in possession of the ball or not. 11 players work collectively to protect their goal when they don’t have the ball. So, there is no reason it would be any different when attacking the opposition’s goal. The question then that needs to be asked is this.

Just how advantageous is it to have a goalkeeper that has the necessary qualities to help build the game from the back, that can keep possession safely even when under pressure, that recognizes opportunities to attack the space in front, inviting pressure to free space for a teammate, that can play those penetrating passes to break the opposition’s first line of press? How advantageous is it to have a playmaker like Tennyson Diaz-Campbell “Tenny” in goal? In this blogpost, we will look to answer these questions in more detail.

Figure 1 above shows a map of Tenny’s overall interactions with the ball, when in possession as well as intercepting opposition’s passes and blocking shots. Needless to say, he is not shy to step out of his 18-yard box and get actively involved in the game.

Tenny plays as goalkeeper for Unimount Bohemian AFC in the New Zealand NRF League One competition. His experience as an outfield player during his younger years has been a tremendous asset in bringing to life the exciting style of football that the coach is looking to implement. His performance against Te Atatu AFC in the 8th Round of the competition was a fine example of the expectations set on a GK when in possession of the ball.

When in possession, as shown in Figure 2, Tenny provides reliable support to his backline if they are unable to find solutions forward. His teammates know they can trust him to start again to invite opposition pressure, or switch the play to find a free teammate, whichever the game demands.

Since it is essential that the whole team travels as one unit up and down the pitch, Tenny will always be positioned at a reasonable distance from his centre backs, helping the 10 outfield players to pin the opposition more aggressively. If not pressed by the opposition, he also has the confidence to attack the space in front of him with the ball at his feet to then find a free teammate positioned in behind opposition lines of pressure. Examples of this distribution can be seen in Figure 3 and Figure 4 below.

His relatively high positioning out-of-possession, as shown in Figure 5, combined with his ability to read the game and good sense of anticipation, means that he will be able to catch those long balls over the top played by the opposition, substantially reducing threats from direct plays and counter attacks.

In summary, having a goalkeeper who doubles as a playmaker is extremely advantageous both in and out of possession. Not only it is a valuable tactical asset, especially for a team that looks to build from the back, it also makes for an entertaining and exciting watch. It will not suit every coach and team however, especially those who are more risk averse.

Finally, because plots and data are simply meaningless without context, enjoy a compilation of Tenny’s best moments during this NRF League One fixture vs Te Atatu AFC by viewing the links below.

Hudl: http://www.hudl.com/v/2LDjcA


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