Goalkeeper Confidence- by Kayla Gonzales
Confidence as a Goalkeeper
To be a goalkeeper you don’t always have to be the fastest and the strongest player on the team. But you need to have the most confidence. Your teammates need to have confidence in you. As the goalkeeper, you need to have the confidence that you can make that high upper 90 save. But how can a goalkeeper get confidence? There are many stories that have been told about coaches discouraging their team goalkeepers. I have had my share of those type of stories. Coaches would tell me that I would never make it to play college soccer and I wouldn’t amount to anything on the field. Hearing those things made my confidence levels go down, not just in soccer but in day to day life as well. I was really struggling to find myself as a goalkeeper after my coach told me that. After years and years of training and working toward my goal, I ultimately found my confidence back. I went from a club team who was D3 to a Premier 1 team. I was able to play against the U17 National Team for Regional ODP. My high school team won state for the first time in school history my senior year. And I finally achieved my goal of playing Division 1 college soccer. While it was not an easy journey through club and high school soccer, I learned to find a love for the game that was lost when I lost my confidence. Now as I play soccer for Gonzaga University I still struggle a lot with confidence. This time now it is because of injuries. During my freshman year I broke my nose which resulted in a couple of months off, and then my sophomore year I had a major concussion which led to a couple more months off. While I recovered from those injuries I learned that in order to play my best I needed to be my best. Having those injuries made me have a setback with my confidence. I am slowly gaining it back everyday with hard work and training. It is easier when my teammates and my coaches having confidence in me to be the best I can be.
Any advice that I would give myself when I was growing up would be to never lose the fire that drives you. Because the road back is a difficult path to take. You need to love the process! It takes many years to truly be good at something. While I have not perfected the art of goalkeeping, I find new ways everyday to become better. The little things are what help build my confidence. I found if I don’t have a clean hold when I should have, I do 5 up downs. Or after training I often am out there for 10 minutes longer then the team to work on goal kicks or some extra footwork drills. For you to be the best mentally you need to be the best physically. Doing this gives me more confidence in myself. The amount of work that you put in is what you are going to get out of it. Never give up on your goals. There have been many times that I didn’t have the motivation that I needed to get me through the training. But, I’ve learned that if I do my very best, even if it is 65% rather than the 100% needed, everything will all be okay. Effort every shot to the best of your ability. If there is one thing I’ve learned playing at Gonzaga University is to give everything your best. If a shot goes in your net you know that you did everything you could to try to keep it out. And that’s okay to let some go by you once in a while. As long as you effort everything and give everything your best. Wearing the Gonzaga name on my jersey everyday reminds me about why I started playing soccer. I grew up watching BYU play and always dreamed that I would play soccer there. I actually went to a BYU vs Gonzaga game and remember thinking that it was the coolest thing ever. What I didn’t know is that a couple years down the road I would be wearing that Gonzaga jersey and playing against the team that I grew up knowing and loving. And I wouldn’t change wearing the Gonzaga jersey for anything. I play for the little girl that was told that she wouldn’t make it anywhere with soccer. That is what drives me. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF AND YOUR GOALS AND LIFE WILL FIND ITS PATH FOR YOU!