What Do Scouts Look For In Soccer Goalkeepers? (Find Out)

It's no secret that trying to impress a soccer scout can be a very stressful experience. This is especially true in the case of a goalkeeper. To help ease the pressure, it can be good to know what to expect and what soccer scouts look for in a goalkeeper.

There are a lot of attributes that a scout will look for in a goalkeeper. The main ones include shot stopping, ball handling, decision making, agility, strength, courage, and passing. Natural size and leadership can also be very important to a scout.

Now you know what a soccer scout will look for in a goalkeeper. But what other attributes are needed to impress a scout? And what exactly are the things you can do as a goalkeeper to stand out?

What do Scouts Look For in a Goalkeeper?

There's no question that a player needs to work extremely hard to impress a soccer scout. It's even harder when the position you play is the goalkeeper.

This is because the goalkeeper is the hardest position in soccer.

It's also challenging because, as a goalkeeper, you may not get many chances to show what you can do in a game. So when the opportunity does arise, it can easily become a high-pressure situation.

Goalkeepers carry more responsibility than any other player on the field. As a goalkeeper, you are the last line of defense, and one single error could easily lead your team to defeat.

With this in mind, the pressure when playing in front of a scout can be a lot to take on. So knowing what attributes the scout is looking out for can be a big help.

What attributes should a goalkeeper have?

Below I list the attributes a goalkeeper must possess to stand out to a soccer scout.

Having excellent shot stopping abilities:

This one may sound obvious, but a good goalkeeper needs to be a good shot stopper. After all, the main job of a goalkeeper is to save incoming shots.

Becoming a good shot stopper is difficult because a lot of it is instinctual. Being able to read where the attacker is going to shoot the ball is a skill that is hard to learn.

It's a skill that can only be picked up by playing as a goalie as often as possible. And even then, some players will simply pick it up a lot quicker than others.

With all that being said, if you're a goalkeeper in the position of being scouted, then you've probably already picked up this attribute.

My advice would be to try to stay calm and trust your instincts that made you want to be a goalie in the first place.

In my experience, goalkeepers who overthink their shot stopping while being scouted are often the ones who make a mistake.

Your saves don't need to be over the top or stylish, they just need to do the job of stopping the shot, and the scout will take note.

Goalkeeper diving to the corner of the goal

Ball handling must be on-point:

Just as important as shot stopping is ball handling. Ball handling is basically the skill of catching the ball, whether that's from a direct shot or from a crossed ball.

Shot stopping and saving the ball is an essential ability for a goalkeeper to have, but holding onto the ball and not letting it go back into play is also very important.

The last thing a scout wants to see is a goalkeeper dropping the ball, especially if there's an attacking player nearby. The best way to make sure your ball handling is at its best is to try and read each situation as best you can.

For example, if a shot is coming at you faster than you expected, then maybe look to parry the ball away rather than trying to catch it.

When a cross is coming into your penalty area, only come out to catch the ball if you're certain you can make the catch. If not, it's best to stay on your goal line and let the defenders deal with it.

And finally, take note of the weather. If it's raining or the ball is wet, then it will, of course, be harder to catch. So take this into your consideration when deciding whether or not to risk catching a ball.

Decision making must be perfect:

While I'm on the topic of making decisions, decision-making in itself is an ability that is extremely important to a soccer scout.

It's not just deciding when it's best to try to catch the ball. There are many decisions a goalkeeper may have to make during a game.

I will list them here.

  • Deciding to either catch or parry a shot
  • Deciding to either catch or punch a crossed ball or not come off your line at all
  • Deciding whether to pass or clear the ball when using their feet
  • Deciding when is the best time to come out and close down an attacking player in a one-on-one situation

All of these can be vital moments in a game for a goalkeeper, and it is something that a scout will be keeping a very close eye on.

Unfortunately, there is no certain answer to any of these decisions. This is because every situation is different. Making the correct decision during high-pressure moments separates elite goalkeepers from average ones.

Having good agility:

When making saves, catches, or jumping to catch the ball from a cross. One ability is vital in all of these, and that's agility.

Goalkeepers need cat-like reflexes and the ability to reach shots at all areas of their goal.

As a goalkeeper, you must be doing the correct training to keep your agility high. This is something that soccer scouts will be looking out for.

Your strength is important:

Not only is the goalkeeper the hardest position to play, but it's also the most dangerous position in soccer. This is because of the amount of contact that comes with playing in goal.

Goalkeepers must jump through crowded penalty areas and run at the feet of oncoming attackers to try and take the ball. This leads to many collisions for goalkeepers.

They also throw themselves in front of shots that can reach incredible speeds. The fastest shot of all time reached 131.8mph (210.9 km/h).

Because of these fast shots and dangerous collisions, a goalkeeper benefits from being as strong as possible.

If the goalkeeper looks skinny and weak, there's a high chance that a scout would overlook them for a stronger player.

You need to have courage:

Knowing how dangerous it is to be a goalkeeper, it won't surprise you that courage is an attribute that scouts look for.

The decision not to run at an attacker or jump through a crowd of players can sometimes be a smart move.

However, if it's clear that the goalkeeper should put themselves at risk but are not brave enough to do so, the scout would certainly make note of this.

Goalkeeper diving in front of a striker

Your passing should be top-notch:

Distribution is a skill that has become more important in modern-day soccer. The days of a goalkeeper kicking the ball as far as possible toward a tall player are gone.

Instead, goalkeepers are now expected to be able to pass the ball out to their defenders, sometimes under pressure from opposition attackers.

With many teams now playing possession-based soccer, outfield players may sometimes choose to pass the ball back toward the goalkeeper when under pressure from opposition players.

Because of the backpass rule, goalkeepers must then play the ball with their feet. This means that a goalkeeper's passing skills are a new attribute that many scouts will keep a close eye on.

However, my advice would be to only pass the ball if you have the space and feel confident enough to do so. The last thing you want to happen in front of a scout is to misplace a pass to an opposition player. So if in doubt, just kick it upfield.

How Can You Stand Out From Other Goalkeepers?

The most difficult part of impressing a scout as a goalkeeper is being able to stand out from the other goalies.

Because there is only one goalkeeper position on a team, it can be very difficult to make yourself stand out. This is important, however, since you want to be noticed by the soccer scout.

So how do you make sure you get the scout's attention? Check the tips below!

Force your way up:

First of all, you need to be good enough to be picked ahead of the other goalkeepers in your team.

In my experience, a coach will likely give all the goalkeepers an opportunity if he knows a scout is in attendance and if the rules allow him to do so.

Yet a scout knows very well that the starting goalie is likely the coach's favorite goalkeeper.

So with this in mind, it's good to always work hard and be at the top of your game. That way, you are more likely to be the starting goalie when the scout comes around.

Keep it simple:

Some of the best goalkeepers in the world have more quiet games than memorable ones. This is because good goalkeepers are usually at their best when they keep it simple.

Suppose you were to try and make a dramatic save, make a decision to try to catch a very difficult ball, or try to make a difficult pass. In that case, you will open yourself up to making a big mistake.

A scout is well aware that goalkeepers are not flashy players. So you should not feel the need to do something drastic to catch their eye.

A scout would be more impressed if you were to keep a clean sheet and secure a 0-0 draw than if you would give away a penalty by sprinting off your line and taking out a striker.

Carry a large presence:

This one is admittedly easier said than done, but a scout will always appreciate a goalkeeper with a strong presence.

My advice would be to play your game, be confident in your ability, and make sure you're in the best shape possible.

A tall goalkeeper is always preferred to a short one. So if you are lucky enough to stand taller than other players, you can carry yourself with extra confidence that others simply can not.

Another way to have a big presence is to communicate loudly with your teammates.

A scout will always be impressed if the goalkeeper is shouting instructions to their teammates. This usually shows the player has outstanding leadership and confidence.

Goalkeeper shouting to teammates

What do College Scouts Look For in a Soccer Goalie?

Once again, being strong and tall will undoubtedly give you an advantage when it comes to college scouts.

However, there have been many cases of college scouts taking a liking to shorter goalkeepers if they are well-drilled and have a good pair of hands.

A college scout will look for many of the same attributes that I have already spoken about in this article. The only extra factor that's worth remembering with college scouts is that they like a player with a good attitude.

Having a good attitude is always essential, but a college scout is more likely to take a player's personality into account than a scout for a professional team would.

This is because a college has a reputation to uphold. Therefore they would not want to take on somebody who would not be driven to be their best self, both on and off the soccer field.


To summarize, my best advice when playing as a goalkeeper in front of a scout is to keep it simple. There's no need to take unnecessary risks in order to show off.

Though, you should show that you have the ability to be a secure pair of hands.

Scouts will want to see that you are a good shot stopper, have good ball handling skills, good decision making, and lots of courage. Being strong with a good presence is also something a scout will be looking for.

November 6, 2022
Published: November 6, 2022