Kick start your goalkeeping career

A lot of goalkeepers contact us asking for advice on how to get signed or picked up by a professional / semi professional club and one of our most popular posts on the site is on What Scouts and Coaches look for in a Goalkeeper.

What that post doesn’t say though is two things; firstly you need to put yourself in the shop window if you want to get anywhere and secondly in today’s world you don’t have to wait for a covert scout in an anorak watching you through binoculars to get your journey started!

Most of the people who contact us are over 16, already playing open age football in their local Saturday / Sunday league side and hoping to take a step up the football pyramid. In all honesty we don’t know which ones are good enough to step up or not as we will never see most of them play, but this post will hopefully help those who do have the talent get moving!

We’ve all heard the stories about that one local lad who was spotted playing in the local Sunday league and whisked off to sign for the local Premier League side wherever you live. So it does happen – but it is extremely unlikely!

Chances are you won’t get spotted by anybody playing Sunday league football – on a rainy day you will be lucky to convince a friend to come watch you! So the first thing you need to do is make sure you are playing football at the highest level possible as soon as possible.

What most people don’t know is that as long as you have the ability it is very easy to get involved at a Semi-pro level and get started on the football pyramid.

We’re lucky that we live in a time when football clubs are active all over the internet, you can easily get email addresses for managers and clubs throughout the pyramid.

So let’s not get carried away – you aren’t going to have much luck emailing Manchester United but you can certainly be successful with contacting clubs lower down the pyramid and lets not forget our aim here is to get on the pyramid, because once we have experience there we are more likely to be spotted by clubs further up!

If Manchester United aren’t likely to respond to your email, who should you be contacting? It depends on your experience and ability ultimately, but as we have no idea about your ability I will just help with where to start!

Football Pyramid

Clubs at the 9th level of the pyramid are always looking for new players, chances are you can get in touch with them at any time in the year and they will be happy to give you some details of when and where they train for you to come down and show them what you’ve got. Most of these clubs will play on a much better pitch than your average Sunday league club, often with a very small crowd of ‘paying’ fans but the likelihood is whilst you might not have to pay any ‘subs’ to play, you won’t be earning anything either!

Too good for them? The next step up is level 8 on the pyramid, this is where a lot of the local town clubs play at, this is your first division Evo-Stik and Ryman league clubs (dependant on where in the UK you are based). They are generally Semi-pro clubs (that means you get paid to play!) and have a few of the recent FA Cup televised clubs in like Warrington Town from last year’s FA Cup run! You will have to work a bit harder to get a ‘trial’ at this level, but if you contact a few of your local clubs before pre-season starts up and you put a bit of effort into it you will likely be given a few opportunities.

If you’ve already got a bit of footballing experience (been let go from an academy?) or just want to aim as high as possible you can try your luck at level 7 of the pyramid – again most of these clubs are still at Semi-pro level although a few clubs are paying full time wages to attract the best players in a bid to try and get them into the football league. You will likely know a few more of these clubs already – again thinking of the FA Cup this is where you will find clubs like Salford City (who are owned by Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs etc).

It’s important when you contact these clubs you make sure you provide as much information as possible about you, your playing history so far and why you think they should be interested.

This is your opportunity to sell yourself to them and there are a few key things you must include here. Your age, height, playing experience, where you live and your strengths (related to goalkeeping) are essential. It’s also important to tell them why they should give you an opportunity.

One thing that is becoming more popular is to include a link to a ‘profile’ that has a lot of this information on it already, I’d still suggest you put it in your email to them but it does give them a great chance to see you are committed to getting signed. We recently added a section to our site that allows users to create their own profile for free just by registering – check it out here – so please don’t go and pay anybody for this!

So if you are serious about making it as a goalkeeper but don’t know where to start, why not give it a try? If you’re unsure on anything then please ask away in the comments and let us know what responses you get from clubs!

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Daz @ KeeperPortal

Owner and creator of Keeper Portal, an FA qualified goalkeeping coach as well as being pretty impressive at keeping balls out of a net.

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