Every now and then a sports photographer will notice that a lot of the game hinges on one player.
Let’s set the stage: June 21, 2014. The Washington Spirit Reserves (in red) are playing the New York Magic (in white) for the second time this season. The last time these teams met, Washington trounced the Magic 7:0. Today’s score: 0:0
Washington is now leading the United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League Northeastern Conference — after nine games they have won seven and tied two (both tie games were 0:0) having a record of 22 goals for and 2 goals against.
I shoot for the Spirit Reserves so my photography is a bit biased. And some of you know that I don’t try to shoot the goals, preferring to shoot the match instead (there is a difference). But looking through the almost-400 images from today’s game I realized that I was seeing a lot of this fluorescent green jersey in the pictures: Goalkeeper Caitlin Hoffer.
The goalkeeper is supposed to be the loneliest player on the pitch — when things are going well for his/her team. Not today. Washington managed to consistently keep the ball on the New York side of the line. New York was able to get the ball back fairly often, but wasn’t able to complete. On the other hand, Washington was unable to make a single goal, despite a LOT of shots-on-goal.
I may have shot 1/3 of her saves…or perhaps not even that many.
These shots are in the order they occurred — each shot a single event.
It takes a different kind a person to be a goalkeeper. The stress is high. A penalty kick is like a gun fight on the streets of Dodge City — the opponents looking each other in the eye and trying anticipate the “move”. If you fail, blame is quick. Still…
…It’s a great part of the “Beautiful Game”, and one that’s fun to see close up.