Can a Goalkeeper Score a Goal in Soccer?

color drawing of goalkeeper

One of the most exciting things about watching a soccer game is when a player scores a goal. But a goalkeeper’s primary job for the team is to stop a goal from being scored rather than being the one to score a goal.

So, is it even possible for a goalie to score a goal if they want to?

A goalkeeper can score a goal in a game of soccer. Although this is a rare event, if the goalkeeper is the last player to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line, then the goalkeeper has scored a goal.

Even though it’s possible and within the game’s rules for a goalkeeper to score, it’s not something you often see in a game. (Though it does feel very exciting when you do see it!)

To even be in with a chance of scoring a goal, the goalkeeper must either be near the opponent’s goal or sometimes simply hope that the weather is on their side (as I’ll show you in a moment!).

The Goalkeeper Has to Be in a Position to Score

As mentioned above, it is completely within the rules of the game for a goalkeeper to score a goal. All it takes for any player to score is to be in the right place at the right time!

Find out more about scoring goals in soccer here.

The reason we don’t consider the goalkeeper as a scorer of goals is that any goalkeeper who is doing their job well will be spending most, if not all, of the game by their own team’s goal.

The goalkeeper’s job is to defend their goal and do everything possible to stop the other team from scoring. For a goalie to score, they usually have to be at the other end of the field, which is not their default position.

During most games, there will be some periods of time when the goalkeeper is needed less than the rest of the game.

This can be because the defenders on the goalie’s team are doing a really good job at keeping the ball from getting past them, or maybe because their team is just much better than the other team and the opposing team can not get the ball often enough to have a shot at the other team’s goal.

During this time, it’s not uncommon to see the goalkeeper moving further up the field of play than you would normally see them playing.

Sometimes you may even see them hanging out around the halfway line.

Although it needs to be remembered that this is an extremely risky choice as it leaves the goalkeeper’s goal wide open and vulnerable to any long-distance attempt from the opposition.

The reason the goalie does move up the field may be because they are just trying to get nearer to where the game is taking place. They hope that they are more likely to be involved if they are nearer to the action.

It is also an advantage to their team as it effectively gives them another outfield player.

But it also means that they are closer to the opposing team’s goal.

And we all know that the nearer you are to the goal, the more likely you are to score a goal. It’s by no means guaranteed, but your chances do increase!

In this situation, some goalkeepers may find themselves in a position to score a goal. However, the reality is that most goalkeepers get on the scoresheet by participating in set pieces.

Find out more about goalkeepers in my article – A Goalie in Soccer: Role, Responsibilities, and How to Play.

Most Goalkeepers Who Score Take Part in Set-Pieces

soccer goalkeeper scoring a goal

Set pieces are where most of the goals scored by goalkeepers originate.

Whether it is the goalkeeper taking a penalty or a free-kick or whether they come into the opposition’s half of the field to put themselves in a position to score when their team is about to take a set piece.

The vast majority of goals scored by goalkeepers come from a set piece.

The Brazilian goalkeeper, Rogério Ceni, is on record as the highest-scoring goalkeeper in the game’s history. He is credited with scoring 131 goals throughout his career.

Almost every one of these goals came from taking the free kicks and penalty kicks for his team. This put him in a great position to score in most games he played.

The Paraguayan goalkeeper, José Luis Chilavert, who scored 67 goals throughout his career, even managed to score a hat-trick in one game he played in because he was the player who took the team’s set-pieces.

He took three penalty kicks in one game and scored three penalty kicks. 

Alternatively, some goalkeepers, such as the Danish goalie Peter Schmeichel, who scored 13 goals during his professional career, had a reputation for running the length of the field to join the rest of his team in the opposition team’s penalty area whenever there was a corner or free-kick taking place.

This was most often at times in a game when his team needed to do all they could to score a goal. Putting himself in the position to receive the ball from the set piece enabled him to score all those goals.

There Are a Few Other Ways a Goalie Can Score

Although it’s pretty rare to see, sometimes a goalkeeper will literally kick the ball from their own penalty area all the way to the other end of the field into the other team’s goal.

Most of the time, this happens when the goalie is taking a goal kick.

A player can score a goal directly from a goal-kick. The referee will award a goal if the goalkeeper takes the goal-kick and the ball goes directly into the opposition’s goal. However, if the ball goes into the player’s own goal from a goal kick, the referee will award a corner kick to the opposition.

It is entirely within the rules of the game for a goalkeeper to shoot for a goal from their own goal area, either from a goal-kick or kicking the ball out of their own hands.

The times this leads to a goal are often on an unusually windy day, and the ball just gets carried by the wind much further than the opposing team expects. The ball goes over everyone’s head into the opposition goal.

Alternatively, you may see the ball bounce much higher or further than expected once the goalkeeper’s initial kick has hit the ground. This surprises everyone, and the ball ends up in the opposition’s goal.

This situation usually involves not just an unusual result from the goalkeeper’s kick but also relies on the opposing team’s players, particularly their goalkeeper, to be out of position compared to where they probably should have been.

The British goalkeeper, Tom King, has the record for scoring the longest goal in world soccer. On January 19, 2021, he kicked the ball 96.01 m (105 yds) from his goal area into the opposing team’s goal.

Check out this video below of him scoring from a goal kick.

GOALKEEPER BREAKS WORLD RECORD! Watch Newport's Tom King enter the Guinness World Record books!
Goalie scoring from goal-kick

After he kicked it, the ball got caught in the wind and bounced over the opposition goalkeeper’s head.

Related Questions

How far can a goalie come out in soccer? A goalkeeper is permitted to go anywhere on the soccer field. They can come out of their goal area as far as they feel comfortable. However, they can only touch the ball with their hands within their own penalty box.

Can the goalkeeper run with the ball? A goalkeeper can run with the ball in their hands only within their own penalty area. During this time, they can only hold the ball in their hands for a maximum of 6 seconds. A goalkeeper can run with the ball at their feet anywhere they want to on the rest of the soccer field.

Can a goalkeeper pick up the ball twice? Once the ball has left a goalkeeper’s hands, after he or she has already picked it up, the goalkeeper can not pick up the ball again until another player has touched the ball. They are, however, permitted to touch the ball with any other part of their body until this happens.

*Check out the next post – The 6 Pieces of Equipment you need for Soccer*

*Or the previous post – “Why does Olympic Soccer have an Age Limit?*

Ben Clayfield

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Find out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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