Being a goalkeeper in today’s game requires a minimum height for men – usually around the 6ft 1 mark but often clubs are looking for even taller keepers, but what about for women?
As the Women’s game continues to get more popular and there are more high quality goalkeepers these minimum height requirements are slowly starting to move across because suddenly the pool of talent that coaches have to pick from is growing.
For this article we had a look at the heights of the goalkeepers in the English FAWSL and also the American equivalent the NWSL.
The first thing we noticed when looking at the height of the female keepers in both leagues top divisions is that already height appears to be becoming a factor which is to be expected, after all they have the same sized goal to defend and there is a reason that the men’s game has opted for the taller goalkeepers! Whilst there are some smaller keepers in both leagues, generally they are not the first choice keeper at the club (minus a few exceptions)!
Firstly, looking at the FAWSL – the average height of the Keepers (that we could get data for) was 177.5cm or just under 5ft 10 which when measured against the average height of women in the UK already makes goalkeeping for women pretty exclusive; just as in the men’s game – already talent is being overlooked by height. The difference currently is that there are some female Keepers who are considerably below this mark for example Carly Telford who is an England international is 172cm (just under 5ft 8) so it is still possible to make it without being exceptionally tall, but it is getting rare.
Moving across the water to what most believe is the most competitive women’s football (soccer!) league tells a similar story although they actually have a slightly smaller average than over here in the UK. Their average height is just under 175cm which is just under 5ft 9, although this is dragged down a bit by 2 goalkeepers who aren’t starting goalkeepers for their teams and are considerably smaller than the average, if we exclude these two then the average moves up to just over 5ft 9 with the smallest first choice Keeper being 5ft 8.5 so there seems to be a bit more emphasis placed on technical ability in the states.
So if you are hoping to make it to the top of the women’s game as a goalkeeper there aren’t quite the same restrictions as in the Men’s (not just yet!) but realistically you will need to be at least 5ft 7 and preferably up closer to the 5ft 9 mark, anything over that is a bonus!