Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about goalkeeper, the sports position. Goalkeeper is also a proprietary CIWS weapon-system.
In many team sports, the goalkeeper (sometimes colloquially goalie or keeper) is the 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, floor ball and a number of other sports. In ice hockey and lacrosse, the goalkeeper is known as a goaltender.
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).
In some sports, including association football and field hockey, penalties can be awarded in which a single player from the opposing team receives a single shot on goal, with the only defender being the goalkeeper (in soccer this is referred to as a penalty kick). These types of penalties are usually only awarded for serious rule violations or if a goal would have otherwise been scored. Quick reflexes are required on the part of the goalkeeper to prevent such a goal. A series of these kicks in which each team takes turns can be used to determine a drawn match (see penalty shootout).
In association football (soccer), the goalkeepers - one per team - defend their team's goal and have 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, even though they are restricted to doing so only within their penalty area, which is a large rectangle 18 yards out from the goal line, and for certain periods of time only.
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 teammates. 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").
For a detailed article on the Ice hockey goalkeeper see goaltender.
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).
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