How to block a penalty kick… Advice from a goalie


Hailey James

Makayla Aman during the 2017 Girls Varsity season.

Makayla Aman, one of the school’s most valuable soccer players, was thrusted into the spotlight on Tuesday night during the Girls Varsity Semifinals.

The score was 1-1 when the game resorted to a neutral shoot off against Pinnacle High School. After 20 minutes of overtime, it was time for the penalty kicks. The fate of the impending championship was resting on the goalies’ shoulders.

Senior  Aman, emerged victorious after guarding the net from one shot. The final shootout score was 5-4, a win for Perry that landed the team a spot in the State Championships.

How does a 5’6’’ seventeen-year old guard a netted area spanning 24 feet?

The 2018 graduate participates in mobility and strength training to compensate for her smaller frame.

Aman remarked, “Obviously I’m smaller… I just do reps with penalty kicks.”

A penalty kick is meant for the opposing team to score a goal, which is what qualifies the position of the goalie as so difficult.

“It’s one of those things where [the shooter] is supposed to make it,” Aman confessed. “Nobody expects you to make a save.”

Training can only get a player so far. The goalie has to be able to pick up on body language so they can hint at what direction and angle the ball might be kicked. The athlete explained that sometimes she can pick up on signals that can indicate how the player is going to move; however, these moments come sparingly.

“If they open their hips or move a certain way, that’ll sometimes tell you where they’re going.”

Aman was able to block one of the penalty kicks from Pinnacle after she picked up a slight movement in her hips.  

A significant chunk of training for a goalie is practicing penalty kicks, but as Aman continues to excels in her position so do the other players.

“A lot of its luck.” she expressed with a smile.

Other times, the job of a goalie is not physical at all. The mindset can significantly influence
how the player performs.

“I just have to calm myself,” Aman said, “I relax and clear my mind… and just focus.”

Aman cannot do her job without composure. The crowd makes noise, she feels the immense pressure, but she focuses on one thing: blocking that ball.