Top Goalkeeping Coach

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When it comes to identifying what makes a goalkeeping coach great, here are the consensus:

1. Knowledge of the sports

2. People skills

Sure, every football player has their preferences of what makes a great coach. But we are sure that he is someone who can adapt.

Apart from that, there are too many variables to standardize what makes a goalkeeping coach awesome.

If we take two coaches and attempt to quantify their coaching attributes, then we still have many other holistic factors to think about. This includes how personable and motivating they are.

Nonetheless, we have listed down nine goalkeeping coaches that serve well for their team.

Gianluca Spinelli

Gianluca Spinelli is an Italian professional football goalkeeper coach for the Italy national football team and French club Paris Saint-Germain.

Spinelli started his career as a goalkeeper coach at local team Como in 2002. As a player, he was a reserve goalkeeper for the club behind Alex Brunner. Yet, he helped the team obtain promotion to Serie A in 2002, starting in his side’s decisive 2–0 home win over Empoli at the Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia, and keeping a clean sheet.

After playing two years with the Larijani, he was pulled up by Serie A team Genoa C.F.C.. He spent 12 years at Genoa, playing under 16 managers, coaching several goalkeepers (including Mattia Perin), and leading the Serie C club.

Through his time with the club, he earned fame as one of Italy’s best goalkeeping coaches.

Since 2014, Spinelli has been associated with manager Antonio Conte as part of the Italy national football team’s coaching staff. He also played the dual role of goalkeeping coach for both Genoa and Italy.

After Italy’s 6–5 penalty shootout misfortune to Germany in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, Spinelli served Conte to the English club, Chelsea. He held the dual role of goalkeeping coach for the Italy national football team and Chelsea Football Club.

During the 2016–17 Premier League season, Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois praised Spinelli’s skills as a goalkeeping coach. He also recognized Spinelli for helping him to improve his overall game and technique, particularly his footwork and diving.

The team’s substitute goalkeeper, Asmir Begović, also praised Spinelli throughout the season. Chelsea ended the season as Premier League Champions The following season, Chelsea won the F.A. Cup.

After Chelsea dismissed Antonio Conte in July 2018, Spinelli joined Paris Saint-Germain as its new goalkeeping coach. There, he reunited with former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

He proceeded to hold a dual role as Paris Saint-Germain and Italian national team’s goalkeeping coach.

Xavi Valero

Vicente Javier ‘Xavi’ Valero Verchili is a football goalkeeping coach for Premier League team West Ham United.

After withdrawing from playing, Valero got his coaching degrees and earned a Masters in Goalkeeper Coaching from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). He also has a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology from UNED in Madrid.

After José Ochotorena chose to return to Spain to work with Valencia, Rafael Benítez selected Valero’s head goalkeeping coach of Liverpool in July 2007.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres honored him as one of the biggest reasons for his goals. During training, he directed the players on how goalkeepers in future games react to one-on-one situations.

Valero remained in Benítez’s coaching staff at Inter Milan, Napoli, and Real Madrid. In June 2018, he became a goalkeeping coach as part of Manuel Pellegrini’s team at West Ham United.

Joël Bats

Joël Bats is a French retired professional goalkeeper and played his entire senior club career in his native France.

From 1976 to 1992, he performed 553 competitive club rivalries and 504 domestic leagues for Sochaux, Auxerre, and Paris Saint-Germain. He served 50 matches (35 competitive matches and 15 friendly matches) for the senior France team.

Bats was a part of the Paris Saint-Germain coaching staff: First as Artur Jorge’s goalkeeping coach from 1992 to 1994 and as Luis Fernández’s assistant coach from 1994 until 1996.

Bats was elected joint head coach of P.S.G. with Ricardo Gomes in June 1996. P.S.G. won the 1997–98 Coupe de France and the 1997–98 Coupe de la Ligue. But a bitter 1997–98 French Division 1 season and a series of boardroom changes saw Bats and Gomes ousted in June 1998 by Alain Giresse.

Bats had a brief, conventional time as head coach (July 1998 – September 1999) of Division 2 club L.B. Châteauroux. During his 15-month-long spell, Châteauroux won only 32% of their competing matches.

In the summer of 2000, Bats was elected goalkeeping coach at Olympique Lyonnais, a post that he held until December 2017. During his 17 years at O.L., he coached three goalkeepers who played for their countries at the senior level:

  1. Grégory Coupet
  2. Hugo Lloris
  3. Anthony Lopes

Bats’ contract with O.L. was supposed to last until 2019, but the club let him leave early to join former O.L. head coach Rémi Garde at Major League Soccer club’s Montreal Impact.

Dan Gaspar

Daniel Gaspar is a Portuguese-American goalkeeping coach and an assistant coach for Carlos Queiroz’s Iran team. He is a long-time assistant and adviser to Queiroz, with whom he co-authored Project 2010 for the USSF in 1998.

Gaspar served as a technical assistant and goalkeeping assistant coach for the Portuguese men’s and youth national football teams and the South African men’s national team. He also served as the goalkeeping coach for Sporting CP, S.L. Benfica, and F.C. Porto in Portugal, and an assistant coach for J League Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan.

Gaspar was the head coach of the University of Hartford men’s soccer team between 2005 and 2010 and resigned in March 2011. He played as a goalkeeper when studying as a business management college student at the University of Hartford. He was also the assistant head coach of Central Connecticut State University men’s soccer team.

Gaspar was the head coach of A-League Connecticut Wolves, the assistant coach of the NY/NJ MetroStars, and he was also the associate head coach of Central Connecticut State University men’s team.

The CCSU is where he established the Star Goalkeeper Academy in 1995. He also took over the Connecticut Soccer School in 2004, intending to share his international coaching expertise with the youth.

Gaspar persevered his passion for goalkeeping as a club and national team goalkeeping coach in Portugal.

Since 1993, Gaspar has worked with Carlos Queiroz as a goalkeeping coach. He also served as a technical adviser and assistant coach for various clubs.

He also has coaching assignments for the following:

In 2003 Gaspar served with Luiz Felipe Scolari as the goalkeeping coach for the Portuguese men’s national football team. The same thing goes with José Antonio Camacho at S.L. Benfica, between 2003 and 2004.

In April 2011, Gaspar became the assistant goalkeeping coach for Iran’s national team, back-to-back with coach Carlos Queiroz and associate coach Omid Namazi. Two years later, Iran qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 A.F.C. Asian Cup months later.

Frans Hoek

Frans Hoek is a Dutch football coach and former goalkeeper for F.C. Volendam for more than a decade. He then became an assistant coach to Louis van Gaal at club sides A.F.C. Ajax, F.C. Barcelona, F.C. Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and the Netherlands national team.

He also served for the Poland national team under fellow Dutchman Leo Beenhakker. He has coached goalkeepers including Víctor Valdés, Stanley Menzo, Vítor Baía, Łukasz Fabiański, Pepe Reina, Robert Enke, Thomas Kraft, Michel Vorm, Edwin van der Sar, and David de Gea.

Hoek is widely considered as one of world football’s foremost goalkeeping mentors. And his coaching style is known within the game as the “Hoek Method.” 

He associated Ajax in 1986 as a coach, working under manager Johan Cruyff, and became the goalkeeping coach of manager Louis van Gaal at the club in 1991. He also coached for two years the goalkeepers of his former club Volendam. In 1997, he accompanied van Gaal to Barcelona, where he oversaw the promotion of Víctor Valdés.

He moved with van Gaal to the Netherlands national football team in 2000, and back to Barcelona again in 2002. He was the Poland national football team’s goalkeeping coach from 2005 to 2009 under manager Leo Beenhakker, where he went to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Following this, Hoek reunited with van Gaal at Bayern Munich in 2010, where he earned both the role of goalkeeping coach and an assistant coach. 

After van Gaal left Germany in 2011, they took over the Netherlands national football team again, going to UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Hoek again teamed up with van Gaal at Manchester United in the summer of 2014, replacing Chris Woods as the club’s chief goalkeeping coach.

Hoek also trains other goalkeeping coaches and gives lectures for FIFA, UEFA, and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) on goalkeeping. He previously advised Manchester United, LA Galaxy, and the Danish Football Association (D.B.U.) before becoming chief goalkeeping coach.

As of 2016, he is the goalkeeping coach of Galatasaray SK and the Netherlands national football team.

Chris Woods

Christopher Charles Eric Woods is a former England international football goalkeeper in the Football League and Premier League for Queens Park Rangers, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich City, Burnley, Reading, and Southampton. He also played in the Major League Soccer for the Colorado Rapids and Scottish Football League for Rangers.

Woods was Peter Shilton’s long-time substitute in the England team in the mid to late 1980s. And then he started wearing the number one shirt in the early 1990s. He succeeded in accumulating 43 caps in an eight-year international career.

Woods has been a goalkeeper coach for Manchester United, Everton, and the United States. He was recently coaching West Ham United.

Woods held up a coaching position under Walter Smith at Everton in 1998, where he was appointed to develop the club’s goalkeepers. In 2011 Woods was employed by the United States men’s national soccer team, associating with Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Three years later, Woods left Everton to become the goalkeeping coach of Manchester United. Woods maintained his position when Moyes was sacked in April 2014 but was replaced by Frans Hoek.

In June 2015, he became a goalkeeping coach at West Ham United. He left the position in May 2018 following the approval of the new manager, Manuel Pellegrini.

Kevin Hitchcock

Kevin Hitchcock is an English goalkeeping coach and a former professional footballer.

As a player, he was a goalkeeper who made approximately 300 appearances in the Football League and Premier League sweating for Mansfield Town, Chelsea, and Northampton Town.

He left Watford in 2004 to join with former Chelsea teammate Mark Hughes as a goalkeeping coach at Blackburn Rovers. In December 2009, he left the club and Mark Hughes.

The following year, he was selected as the goalkeeping coach at West Ham United, succeeding Luděk Mikloško. But he left the club in June 2010 along with Steve Clarke. A year later, he left Fulham as his goalkeeping coach.

In January 2012, Hitchcock again joined former Chelsea teammate, Mark Hughes, at Queens Park Rangers as a goalkeeping coach. He left the club in 2015 when a contract renewal was not attempted.

In December 2016, Hitchcock was selected goalkeeping coach at Birmingham City by the new manager and former teammate, Gianfranco Zola.

He remained with the club under Zola’s replacements Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill. But he left when Cotterill was sacked in March 2018 with the team in the relegation zone.

In July 2018, he was appointed as a goalkeeping coach at Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC, working under John Gregory.

On 30 April 2019, Hitchcock went to M.L.S. to become the goalkeeping coach at New England Revolution.

Eddie Niedźwiecki

Andrzej Edward “Eddie” Niedzwiecki is a former Welsh goalkeeper and a football coach.

After leaving early due to injury, Niedzwiecki became a coach with Chelsea and then Arsenal before working beside Mark Hughes with the Wales national team.

Since then, he has served with Hughes at Fulham, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Stoke City, Queens Park Rangers, and Southampton. He is now the assistant manager at Championship club Reading.

Niedzwiecki also linked up as a coach with Hughes at Fulham in 2010. He left the club in the summer of 2011. 

In 2012, he joined Queens Park Rangers as a coaching staff member, after Hughes was selected as the side’s manager. He and Mark Bowen were appointed as temporary joint managers after Hughes’ dismissal in November 2012.

Niedzwiecki then went on to link up with Hughes at Stoke City in June 2013. He left Stoke City in January 2018.

In March 2018, he was selected assistant first-team coach at Southampton, following Hughes’s appointment as manager. In May 2018, after Southampton’s Premier League status was verified, it was announced that Niedzwiecki confirmed a new long-term contract. In December 2018, he was removed following the sacking of Mark Hughes.

In October 2019, Niedzwiecki was seen with new Reading F.C. Boss Mark Bowen. It was later verified that he joined up with former Mark Hughes’s assistant Mark Bowen as an Assistant Manager at Reading.

To create a good atmosphere during a session, it’s vital to have a coach who can use their personality and skills.

You can still include the fundamental principles while diversifying the session to cater to your goalkeepers’ needs. By doing this, you can incorporate learning with enjoyment, which leads to more efficient learning.

Understanding your goalkeeper is a critical component of a successful coach’s make-up. If you can get into the head of the goalkeeper you’re coaching, you’ll know what makes them tick.

This is where establishing a relationship and investing in the player as a person becomes essential. In the long run, it will enhance your working relationship, which in turn leads to results.

2 thoughts on “Top Goalkeeping Coach”

  1. I am 17 years of age and looking to enhance my skills as a Football Goalie. I have been playing football since I was 8 years of age and presently play as part of the A team of Kenkre club of Mumbai in the league matches in India. I am ready to travel for my coaching to any part of the world. My goal is to play pro footaball in years to come.

    Could you suggest the the best football coach in the business, after looking at my skills commitment and ability can coach me.

    1. Hi Rishi. We did publish this post with the top goalkeeper coaches.
      You are welcome to check them out and perhaps try to look through their professional network to see if there are any scouts that can help.

      If you can, even consider doing trips to Europe and competing in the competitions there. You may get better goalkeeper coach recommendations if you go to the UK, Spain, Germany, France, or Italy.

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