The goalkeeper position is a very unique rollercoaster, as we live a life where we can’t get minutes in every match unless we’re the starting goalkeeper. During the development phase, every goalkeeper should have the chance to play as many minutes as possible.
The goal is to get as many minutes as you can as this will allow you to see as many in-game situations as possible. But we also want to learn what competing for the starting position is about, to understand that the position is earned and not given. At the college level, many goalkeepers have always been the starter or the only goalkeeper on the team so they’re not accustomed to having to compete for the starting position which causes them to struggle to be a good teammate. Many times they end up
shutting down and become just part of the team without competing. Other times, unfortunately, some goalkeepers walk away from the sport as they see competing, learning, and sitting on the bench as a waste of time.
I personally don’t believe it’s okay for there to only be one goalkeeper on the team. This creates an unrealistic reality. I think the best way to develop a goalkeeper mentally is with pressure and an awareness that they could lose the position with any mistake. Many times this causes young
goalkeepers to get discouraged and pushes parents away from allowing their child to be on that team. Parents will sometimes take their child to another team where they will be the only goalkeeper on the
team hence play every match.
In my opinion, every team needs to have multiple goalkeepers registered. Every goalkeeper should be registered to play for the A, B, or C team for their clubs. Every week or two, the goalkeeper who has performed the best should be played on the team that needs it the most. This does not mean it’s always going to be the A-team. The goalkeeper earns the opportunity to help a team win but it won’t always be the “best team”.
Splitting time can only be accomplished when both goalkeepers are fully committed to the position and not just figuring out their position. If both goalkeepers commit to competing, amazing things can happen. Back in 2012, a team named Rio Ave in Portugal had two young, promising goalkeepers fighting for playing time and for their future. Those two goalkeepers are now two of the best in the world playing in
the top leagues. Oblak now plays for Atletico Madrid and Ederson now plays for Manchester City. When proper development and competition meet, it causes goalkeepers to flourish and amazing things can happen.