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Feb 2012
10:40 Comments (18)
Training curriculum for goalkeeping coaches

Professional Football

Xavi Valero

Goalkeepers have always trained in specific ways, differentiated from the rest of the team. It seems like a long time ago when we could see the manager or his assistant dedicating just half an hour extra to the goalkeepers after training whilst the rest of the players stretched on the pitch. Yet the truth is that this has been quite common until recently. Not long ago I had the opportunity of having a coffee with Bert Trautmann, the legendary Manchester City goalkeeper. He told me how back in the 1950s a large part of his training sessions were dedicated to improving his handling technique, improving how to attack the ball in the air and how to deal with penetrating passes, improving his distribution and playing as a sweeper behind the defence, etc…..how did he do this? Out of his own accord, with a team mate who would volunteer or the manager or simply with whoever was available. Specific training for goalkeepers already existed, like it has always existed, albeit marginally with lack of structure. However, Trautmann was a complete goalkeeper, capable of controlling the game. Nowadays, everyone talks about what the ´modern goalkeeper´ should be like, but it´s good to look back into the past to realise that we haven´t invented many new things...

Bert Trautmann (1923), 508 games with Manchester City
As mentioned above, those more or less unstructured goalkeeping training sessions have not been organised until recently. The figure of the goalkeeping coach, as part of a club’s staff or as part of a technical team is pretty recent if we bear in mind that football is a centenary sport and highly professional. Nowadays it is difficult to find goalkeepers that don´t receive specific training from an early age, although we are still far from being able to offer sufficient high quality teaching that would allow us to develop the potential of those children that decide to become goalkeepers. National and international football organisations are increasingly developing programs with the objective of creating a training curriculum that is capable of producing qualified goalkeeping coaches with professional recognition equal to other football professionals. There are a considerable number of valuable coaching opportunities from personal initiatives to goalkeeping coaches associations that contribute to this end, although we are not going to refer to these in this article. Instead, we will focus on how various European Football Federations structure goalkeeping coaches’ training.


Through The Football Association (The FA), England has been one of the first countries to consolidate a well structured curriculum that begins from initial levels right up to professional level. Initial courses are delivered in different counties so many coaches can access them. They are short intensive courses with high methodological and practical content. Courses include:

  • The FA Goalkeeping A Licence.
  • The FA Goalkeeping B Licence.
  • The FA Goalkeeping Level 2 Certificate.
  • The FA Goalkeeping Level 1 Certificate.


The RFEF (Spanish Football Federation) Foundation organises this year the ‘V Curso de Especialista en Entrenamiento de Porteros de Futbol’ (V Course on Goalkeeping Coaching). This is the main course offered in Spain and always has a high attendance. It takes place on a yearly basis in the Football Training Grounds of the Spanish Federation in Madrid and has a duration of 4 months, attending 2 days a month. Obtaining this qualification, along with obtaining the Coaching Uefa B Licence allows access to the ‘Federative Licence in Goalkeeping Coaching’.


The Federazione Italiana di Gioco Calcio (FIGC) has organised since 2010 a one week course in their headquarters of Coverciano. They have announced recently a three week course addressed to Academies’ goalkeeping coaches. Also, the Associazione di Preparatori di Portieri di Calcio (APPORT), directed by Claudio Rapacioli, has over the last few years organised a high profile goalkeeping coaching course that has been able to bring in some of the most well known goalkeeping coaches. During the time we spent coaching in Inter Milan I noted there wasn’t much specific content on goalkeeping from the FIGC but, on the other hand there was a wide range of practical initiatives from different goalkeeping coaches and associations.


The Association Suisse de Football (ASF) has developed over the last years a coaching program similar to that in England. It includes:
  • Level 3: Professional Level.
  • Level 2: Academy level.
  • Level 1: Beginners Level.
The courses are short and intensive and practical experience is needed to progress from one course to the next. Patrick Foletti, recently named Head Goalkeeping Coach of the ASF, has developed an interesting program for restructuring the training curriculum offered by the Football Federation.
Summary of the above as follows:

 England (The FA)  Spain (RFEF) Italy (FIGC)Switzerland (ASF)
 Goalkeeping A Licence  Course on Goalkeeping Coaching National CourseLevel 3: Professional
 Goalkeeping B Licence   Youth Coaching CourseLevel 2: Youth Coaching
Goalkeeping Level 2    Level 1: Beginners
Goalkeeping Level 1     

In turn, FIFA has launched, at the end of 2011, a coaching program addressed to goalkeeping coaches at various levels. The program is still a pilot; it comprises of DVDs, manuals and seminars. The program should be completed in 2012 and could serve as a future reference for worldwide initiatives.

This is no more than a brief review indicating that specific structured training for goalkeepers was a necessity and that bit by bit programs have been developed. There is still much to do but in my opinion we are advancing in the right direction.

18 Comments Send us your opinions
21/10/12 at 06:23:35 #11
Frank Nyame from Ghana,Africa.
I am currently the goalkeeper's trainer for a First Division Club in Ghana but had no Licence nor Cirtificate. Can i get a chance of doing the on-line courses.
09/11/12 at 11:44:41 #12
over the past couple of season we have witnessed a dip in the form of pepe reina, it has also coinsided with the change of defensive strategy form the zonal employed by you to a man to man system. Do you think specific keepers are prone to function better under preferred systems due to their different strengths and personalities maybe or do you think its down to the details of tactical organization and individual decision makings.


Hello, Pepe is a great keeper, so, for me it is more down to the details of tactical organization and individual decision makings. Thanks.
17/01/13 at 13:15:41 #13
ashley hoffman
Hi Rafa. I am from Cape Town, South Africa,a lifelong LIVERPOOL FC supporter and a huge fan of yours. I have played as a goalkeeper for most part of my life (I am 49 years old), and have devised a theoretical and practical coaching technique very different from the conventional. I have inculcated this technique in my son, Steven Hoffman, since he was 18 months old, until his inclusion in our National u/17 team at age 15 years. He got his first call up to the National u/20 team and currently plays for Bidvest Wits FC as first choice goalkeeper in our local professional league. he is 18 years old. he is technically far superior to most pro keepers.I feel that I can add tremendous value as a professional keeper coach, but don't know where to begin in pursuing a career in this sector of football. I have watched numerous training videos and observed various professional keeper coaches at work, and all of them shows the very basics of keeper coaching.
Please advise.


Hello Ashley,

There are a lot of options of courses for Goalkeeping Coaches in different countries. Spain has some of them, so, contact with the Federations of each country. Best wishes.
17/01/13 at 13:31:23 #14
Ashley Hoffman
Hi Rafa.
Me again.
I have a question...Does the goalkeeper have any discretion in deciding his defensive formation with corners or set-pieces, or is that decision left purely with management. In all of my playing career spanning approximately 36 years, I can count on my hand the amount of goals I conceded from corners due to an old tried and tested technique as follows: Stationery player on each post and one in the centre of the goals (3 players). The goalkeeper stands 2 yards off his line with the freedom to move in or beyond his 5 yard area without fear of goal-line cover. IT WORKS!!
08/02/13 at 19:22:34 #15
Hi Rafa, Do you have courses for football coacheses? as I,m not GK.



I would like to help but you have to talk with the Federation of your country. Thanks.
09/03/13 at 14:43:10 #16
Tracey Oultram
My son is 10 and plays for an under 11's team at present. I'm afraid the goalkeeprs seem to get forgotten in training somewhat and yet when it comes to match day and they make mistakes it is somehow all down to them!! (doesn't help they are in enormous goals!), so we are taking it upon ourselves to try and get some coaching for him, we feel he has some potential, realise he needs work in certain areas and he isn't the tallest, but he has determination, some great skills and a great work ethic, but is never going to get any better under the current system and team he is in, for his own confidence this is important that these issues are addressed, his confidence just gets knocked game after game, if they make a mistake they just get brought off, pretty dreadful really and very disheartening for him and us, he often finishes a game, even if his team win, feeling terrible about himself, it really does need to change or we will never produce any decent keepers for the future!


Hello, maybe you can film him and show him the good things he is doing every game. It will help for his confidence. Best wishes.
26/06/13 at 13:16:01 #17
Hola Rafa,soy entrenador de porteros en Tercera División,no estoy de acuerdo en que si no has jugado a nivel profesional no llegues al nivel de entrenadores de porteros conocidos,ese es el problema de que muchos no lleguemos a alcanzar metas,no hay ni opciones,un portero se retira y ya se le supone buen entrenador de porteros,eso no es asi,hay mucho estudio detrás y conocimiento de tus porteros para potenciarle sus virtudes y mejorar sus defectos,ademas de ser parte del sistema de juego del entrenador de el club en ese momento,muchas horas sacrificadas entre trabajo y familia que solo sirven para la satisfacción de los porteros y de uno mismo.Tengo colgado un blog de mis entrenamientos para poder ayudar en lo posible a personas que tienen este sentimiento por la mejora de los porteros,eso es tiempo también dedicado.No por ser buen alumno se es buen maestro.
03/01/16 at 11:32:41 #18
Hi Ernest Mabouka Goalkeeper Coach i think their a lot of work to do when come to goalkeeping ,in different age group in the youth .specially in Africa know organise at all .Fifa & Caf have to looked that to do more course and that will change a lot thing ,the game change a lot and we need to study to be in page
i am looking for goalkeeping course
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