From Academic Kids

This article is about the sports position. Goalkeeper is also a proprietary CIWS weapon-system.

Missing image
A goalkeeper leaves his feet to parry a shot on goal

In many team sports, a goalkeeper (termed goaltender in some sports) is a designated player that is charged with directly preventing the opposite team from scoring by defending the goal. Such positions exist in association football (soccer), handball, field hockey, ice hockey, water polo, lacrosse, floorball and a number of other sports.



Usually special rules apply to the goalkeeper that do not apply to the other players. These rules are often instituted to protect the goalkeeper, being an obvious target for dangerous or even violent actions. In addition, in certain sports like ice hockey, goalkeepers are required to wear special equipment like heavy pads and a face mask to protect their bodies from impact from the play object (e.g. a puck).


Football (Soccer)

In association football (soccer), each team's goalkeeper defends their team's goal and has special privileges within the game. Most notably, the goalkeepers are the only players who may handle the ball with their hands or arms during play, however they are restricted to doing so only within their penalty area, may not do so if the ball has been received direct from a throw-in or deliberate pass by a team-mate, and may not handle the ball for more than six seconds.

Field hockey

In field hockey, the goalkeeper wears extensive protective equipment including helmet, face and neck guards, chest and leg padding, gloves, lower leg guards (known as pads) and shoe covers (known as kickers). While they are equipped with a stick, the restrictions of the protective equipment mean it cannot be used for much more than deflecting shots, leaving kicking the only viable method of passing the ball to team-mates. The goalkeeper is allowed to use any part of their body to contact the ball, although they can't obstruct its play (for example by lying on top of it), and they can only do so within the goal circle (or "D").

Ice hockey

See main article: Goaltender

Water polo

Goalkeepers in water polo are granted three special privileges when inside the four meter area:

  • The ability to touch the ball with two hands.
  • The ability to touch the floor of the pool.
  • The ability to strike the ball with a clenched fist.

They also have one limitation that field players do no have: They may not cross the half-distance line.


Lacrosse goaltenders may only hold the ball in their protective crease for six seconds (the length often depends on the level of play).

See also

de:Torwart eo:Golulo es:Guardameta nl:Doelman ja:ゴールキーパー pl:Bramkarz pt:Goleiro sv:Mlvakt


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