Anyone who refers to soccer players as “foot fairies,” or believes that soccer is not a real man’s sport has probably never talked to a goalkeeper. The position of goalkeeper forces the player either to throw his body through the air for a save or go head to head against at least one other player who may or may not even be on his own team. Just this past Friday, after the University of Dallas beat Centenary College 6-0, junior goalkeeper Tino Gamueda still managed to put his body out on the line. Although Centenary only had four shots on goal the entire game, Gamueda saved the ball from going out for a corner kick, sliding his body straight into the corner flag. Many people are not familiar with the position, so I asked Gamueda to provide some novel insight to this somewhat daunting but integral position.
KK:When did you start playing keeper and why?
TG: I started playing keeper when I was nine. But up until sophomore year I would play half a game on the field and half in goal. Once I was 15, I started seriously playing keeper. The very first time they introduced keeper, when I was nine, no one else wanted to play so I decided to do it and ever since then it’s been my first option to play. Many players have never played keeper and leave it to the one crazy kid who says that he will play and we never look back. There is always one guy who steps in to take the beating that no one else wants to, the job that is either blamed the most or praised the least. Gamueda helped shed some light on why he, or anyone, would be the right person to play keeper.
KK: What kind of player does it take to be a keeper?
TG: It takes someone who can handle pressure; you have to be a little bit of a perfectionist because there is no room for mistakes. You also have to be mentally tough because even if you let in one goal there is still a whole game to be played.
KK: Since goalkeeping is naturally a leadership position, do you feel like you have taken on that attitude or have you always been a leader?
TG: I’d say that I’ve always been a leader. I’m the oldest in my family, so I’ve always had to lead because of that. Being a keeper and a leader correlate … you can apply parts of one to the other.
KK: Do you sometimes feel like a passive part of the game or is there always a way you can be a leader?
TG: You still have to make sure that your defense is organized at all times so that [the opponents] don’t penetrate through. Even if your team is on the attack, you have to stay alert at all times because a bad touch or an intercepted pass can trigger a counter attack for the opposition in a matter of 2 seconds.
Not just anyone can play keeper and Gamueda is certainly not your run-of-the-mill athlete. It was almost like he was made for the job, coming in at 6’3” and 185 lbs, Gamueda was not only built for the position, but also possesses the flexibility of a player on the field and in goal. Since his first year at UD, Gamueda has been sharing time in goal as starting keeper. This year, he has stepped into the spotlight as Dallas’ starting goalkeeper and has played all 90 minutes of most games. His stability and consistency have contributed to the team’s success and his continued presence through senior year will be a very stable rock for the team to fall back on.