I've had a number of parents and goalkeepers ask me this question over the past few days so I think it would be a good idea to go into more detail about the purpose of the academy. Myself, and my coaching staff, have been training youth goalkeepers in the Charlotte area for almost 5 years now. We've worked with some of the best goalkeepers in the area who have gone on to play at some of the top college programs and even moved on to the professional ranks. A lot of this work has been individually, working with goalkeepers one on one. All of our conversations over the years have come down to one key point; there is something missing. We've identified the Goalkeeper's Union as that missing element. Let me explain more.
It's hard to explain just how important the training environment is for a goalkeeper's development but I will do my best. I'm sure many of you understand; I say that because I've had plenty of conversations with parents who are frustrated with the lack of development opportunities their young goalkeeper gets throughout the year. Youth clubs often fall short in the goalkeeping department. Too many times, goalkeepers are simply stuck in net fielding strikes from players and not really focusing on their specific needs.
Our academy aims to address this ongoing issue. By working with a staff, complete with current and former professional goalkeepers, our players will be put in an environment that mirrors the professional environments these coaches work in on a daily basis. The standards are high, the attention to detail is immense, and the focus on holistic development is persistent. Our training environment is focused specifically on the needs of the goalkeeper. Our goalkeepers will learn to enjoy the "monotony" of repetition because they will see how it increases their confidence and improves their performance. The key objective of our training environment is to develop competent and self-assured goalkeepers.
Goalkeeper training is just like any other type of sports training; without continuous repetition, it's extremely hard to improve. A lack of consistent, quality goalkeeper training is what often holds youth goalkeepers back. Oftentimes, youth goalkeepers rely on sporadic training in-season and increase their training load during the winter and summer months. The problem with this schedule is that it usually leads to extreme peaks and valleys in development. With our academy, we want to provide the consistency necessary for goalkeepers to take the steady strides forward that are required for consistent performance.
Not only are we looking for consistency in the amount of training, we also want to provide consistency in the group that we train. When talking about the environment, its important to understand that the more comfortable a player is in an environment, the more likely they are to grow as a goalkeeper. It is our obligation to provide the training standards which define our environment but the consistency of the goalkeepers that show up will also help define the academy environment. As a professional, the most comfortable training sessions were the ones where I knew the goalkeepers I was working with. Developing consistency for our goalkeepers is one of our main priorities.
Relationships are at the crux of what truly makes the Goalkeeper's Union successful. As goalkeepers, only we can understand how lonely the position can be. Throughout my ten years as a professional, I was able to develop strong relationships with both my goalkeeper coaches and the other goalkeepers I was working with, that helped me to work through some of the difficult times I experienced. These relationships helped me to push myself every day to reach my highest level. We encouraged each other, we laughed together, we provided constructive feedback, but most of all we simply enjoyed training together.
These are the types of important relationships we want to provide for our academy goalkeepers. The level of competition within sessions will naturally bring out the best in each goalkeeper but the support provided by each academy member is what will truly enhance the individual development for each goalkeeper in our environment. Our coaches will provide the support necessary to help players improve their technique, tactical awareness, and mental strength. Together we will develop the best goalkeeper training environment that Charlotte has to offer!
If you can't tell, I'm passionate about this. I spent many years playing youth soccer in Charlotte so I understand the dynamics of club soccer in the area. I went on to play division one soccer at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where I got my first true taste of the competition level between a goalkeeping group. The ups and downs of my three and a half years in college helped me propel myself to the professional level. After 10 years experiencing almost everything you can imagine as a professional goalkeeper, my passion is now to help the next generation of goalkeepers be even better than I was. When I was most successful in my career, I had an amazing support system comprised of my goalkeeping core and a coach who supported me throughout the season. Its now my time to give back and create that environment for as many goalkeepers as possible here in Charlotte! Head to our academy page now to get more details and join the academy!