UEFA's coach education programme continues to innovate, with specialist training for goalkeeper coaches on the menu in a series of courses this spring. The courses are being held at the request of the UEFA member national associations.
Following successful events in Serbia and Belgium, it was the turn of Moldova to play host to another goalkeeping course and welcome groups of UEFA member associations to the country.
The courses, run by UEFA's football education services, are aimed at further training goalkeeper coach educators and familiarising them with UEFA guidelines and the latest developments in this important specialist sector of the game.
During the 2011/12 season, UEFA staged four successful pilot seminars for goalkeeper coach coaches – in Belgium, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland and Sweden, with around 160 educators attending the programme.
Consequently, UEFA is continuing this specific course offering during the 2012/13 campaign, under the auspices of the UEFA coaching programme. UEFA is also providing specialist education in areas such as football fitness and futsal coaching.
The Football Association of Moldova (FMF) national teams training centre at Vadil lui Voda was the venue for the latest course, and the associations represented were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
Those associations were invited to send three goalkeeper coach educators/goalkeeping specialists, who can subsequently disseminate information to coach education colleagues and implement the acquired knowledge in respective national coach education schemes. The goalkeeper seminars are dovetailing with the introduction of a UEFA-endorsed goalkeeper licence, with the licence criteria recommended by the governing body's Jira Panel.
UEFA's main course instructors – offering a wealth of advice and experience – were Packie Bonner (Republic of Ireland) and Frans Hoek (Netherlands), accompanied by Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA-KBVB) Under-18 and U19 head coach Marc Van Geersom. The instructors were joined by several Moldovan representatives, including FMF general secretary Nicolai Cebotari, technical director Ghenadie Scurtul, coach education director Alexandr Viblov and women's national-team manager Olga Rusacova. In addition, senior national-team goalkeeping coaches Vasilii Koselev (men), Serghei Botnaras (U21) and Petru Lesnic (women) were accompanied by the goalkeeping coaches of some Moldovan clubs.
The course in Moldova focused on a wide spectrum of elements related to the crucial position of goalkeeper. Topics included the development of goalkeeping in the past, present and future; basic techniques for goalkeepers; developing a pathway for international goalkeepers; team-tactical training; and UEFA guidelines, philosophy and methodology for goalkeepers. Discussion sessions presented an ideal opportunity for participants to exchange ideas and viewpoints.
"UEFA is hosting these seminars to provide a platform for exchange," said Packie Bonner. "The participants are shown a new approach as to how they can fit goalkeeper coach education into the professional game.
"These seminars have allowed us to discuss our experiences in the field and the kind of problems we are facing," he added. "The challenges are very similar all across Europe, and thanks to the UEFA goalkeepers courses we may have found a unified way of addressing these challenges."
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