Q & A with Bob Stankov, Highlander​s’ Goalkeeper Coach

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 Interview by Saul Garcia

February 28, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Shortly after Simon Thomas signed with the White Caps, Saul Garcia interviewed Highlander’s Goalkeeping Coach Bob Stankov. Bob coached Simon for 7 years in Victoria.

SG: Some say goalkeepers are odd people…

BStan: Yes, we are not always very normal, you have to be a little different to be a goalkeeper, there is a lot of pressure on this position.

SG: Did you start as a goalkeeper?

Bstan: Yes, I first played goal when I was 11 years old and never looked back.

SG: What do you look for in a good goalkeeper? What are the attributes a goalkeeper needs to succeed?

BStan: you need a combination of both physical qualities and technical abilities. On the physical side of things, height is important but good coordination and athleticism can make up for height. On the technical side, good positioning, decision making, and tactical understanding separate a great keeper from the pack.

SG: Should goalkeepers act as a second coach?

BStan: Goal keepers have to be vocal for sure, however, they have to provide good tactical information not only be a cheerleader.

SG: There are some Goal keepers out there who are not only vocal but a little extravagant -Higuita, Campos, Chilavert- how do you feel about playing the position that way?

BStan: As long as it doesn’t affect their job, extrovert keepers are good to have, they communicate well and feel comfortable leading a team. At the Highlanders FC Goal Keeper Academy we help young keepers develop that aspect of their game. Goalkeepers in our academy get a lot of coaching within the team so they develop a tactical understanding of the game unfolding in front of them. They also learn to position, communicate, and assess different situations properly.

SG: In regards to the accademy, what is The Highlanders Way of development in respect to the goalkeeper position?

BStan: It is divided into 3 phases.

Phase 1 and 2 focus on teaching the basic goalkeeping technical points such as body position, hand shape, diving techniques, catching crosses, and reaction saves. During phase 3 our goalkeepers will do a technical segment for the first half of a training session and then they join the rest of the team for the second half. This two part training session is very valuable because our goalkeepers not only get the technical training but also get coached during the game on their positioning and tactical information.

SG: I heard you coached Simon Thomas, is that correct?

BStan: Yes. I coached Simon for 7 years while he was growing up in Victoria.

SG: What is his best quality as a keeper?

BStan: Simon’s best quality is his work ethic, from the beginning he was always determined to make it to professional soccer and acted accordingly. He is also a very consistent goalkeeper, very tidy technically.

SG: Best Canadian goalkeeper of all time?

BStan: Craig Forrest.

SG: Best goalkeeper today?

Bstan: There are so many different styles, but my favorite would be Hugo Lloris since I am a Spurs fan.

SG: How are we doing with our first team goalkeepers?

BStan: From the goalkeeper’s stand point we will have no worries, we have very solid guys on our first team roster and the young players behind them are developing well.

SG: How can new goalkeepers join the Highlanders FC Goal Keeper Academy?

BStan: We have an open door for the Academy and I would like to add that we have a proven track record for developing high-level goalies. Not only Simon Thomas, but also Shaun Melvin who is now playing with the Whitecaps in their residency program. On the coaching side, we have recently added Danny Paton-Cavanaugh to our staff. He played at Dundee United in Scotland and is now sharing all his experience with our young goalkeepers.

SG: Thank you Bob, our net is safe with you in charge.

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