Life of a goalie? Is my life that different? Yes and no. As goalkeeper in our program, my life consists of most of the things the field players do with only a few exceptions.
I go to weights with everyone else, and do the same things they do. Fitness (Lord help me) is adjusted to reflect my position. Our coaches recognize that passing fitness tests is necessary, but they also recognize that in a game the farthest I run is maybe thirty yards. Maybe. Because of that we work on short, powerful bursts off the line and of course endurance to make it through ninety minutes of shot stopping and distributing.
Full team practice can go a few different ways for me. The first is a shot-heavy practice. I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I love it because I actually get to play. By that I mean I have trained as a goalkeeper for over eleven years, and the only time people see it is on one or two saves in a game. This is where my teammates see what I can do. This is where I earn their trust. Another way is what I consider an organizing practice. At this practice, we could be doing anything from nailing down formation to possession. I can be involved in these pretending to be a field player. But more often than not my job is to watch and talk. This is where I learn how my teammates move, the habits they have, what passes and runs they like to make. Because I “can see everything” it’s my job to tell them where to go. If they do not see a pass, it is my fault for not telling them. I need to know where everyone is supposed to be at all times. Film is extremely helpful with putting this into perspective.
Our designated keeper sessions is when we focus on me. We keep my strengths sharp, and beat the weaknesses out of me (usually with low dives). Isaac and Julie have made my sessions come a long way in the three years I’ve been at Union. They know my personality and attitude. They know what I love and what I hate to work on. Growing up I was fortunate to have parents who paid for individual sessions. My coaches know that this works best for me and are willing to work with me one on one. Anna and I still train together, just like I did with Emily Whitnell, Krista Erlandson, and Rainy Rasmussen back in the day. Those sessions are motivating and are where we form bonds with the teammates we are directly competing with.
Besides that, I go to class, hang out with my friends and my sorority, and watch way too much Gilmore Girls. Just like everyone else.
-Kristen Francis, #1