Christian Benjamin – @keeperstop
Name: Christian Benjamin
Current Position: Owner of Keeperstop.com Goalkeeper Equipment and Education. Assistant Coach and Goalkeeper Coach Central Connecticut State University, NCAA Division 1 Mens Soccer
Years Coaching Goalkeepers: 21 years
What is your background?
NSCAA Advanced National Goalkeeper Diploma, USSF National C License. Since coaching at CCSU in 2007 3 goalkeepers have received all conference honors, 3 conference championships, and a NCAA final 16 tournament. Featured clinician for travel and premier clubs throughout CT, MA, and NY. Former director at Dan Gaspar’s Star Goalkeeper Academy. Starting goalkeeper at Bryant University.
What got you into coaching?
The love of game and inspiring other players. In my youth I learned a lot about goalkeeping on my own. From there I recognized the need for positive well rounded goalkeeper training. Goalkeepers are often left alone to their own devices to train independently. Keeperstop.com has a reputation of developing well rounded technically sound goalkeepers.
What is your coaching philosophy?
Simple and sharp movements that help a goalkeeper to make decisions under pressure. Creating a complete goalkeeper that goes beyond fitness and diving training with an emphasis on foot skills, high balls, communication and leadership training.
Who has been a mentor to your through your coaching career? Is there a coach who impacted you to get into coaching?
Dan Gaspar, former Portuguese National Team, Benfica, Porto, MLS goalkeeper coach, to me how to motivate and inspire each individual goalkeeper. Each goalkeeper has a preferred learning and training style.
Do you feel that the role and importance of a goalkeeper coach has been fully realized in the coaching community?
Every day the importance of Keeperstop.com training style is realized with parents, coaches, and goalkeepers of all levels reaching out to ask us training questions. We are all students of the game.
Looking back, how have you seen your coaching develop from when you first started to now?
When you are a younger goalkeeper coach the focus tends to be big saves, big dives, and fitness. As a goalkeeper coach matures, evolves with the game, and learns about the importance of the mind body connection. Training shifts from the big save to helping the goalkeeper control their body and the ball through sharp simple effective training to instill physical and mental discipline.
How do you design your training sessions?
Keeperstop.com training sessions at the beginning include distribution, communication, and handling and end with high balls in every session. Goalkeeper sessions include a technical warm up and always include a game situation to apply decision making and pressure.
How do you motivate your keepers behind your first string to ensure competition for the position?
We are all part of a special goalkeeper union. We are working to better ourselves and others around us. I motivate by setting expectations, keeping open lines of communication, and training everyone as equals. The starting job is earned with hard work and consistency. The second string knows they are an injury or a string of bad performances away from the starting role.
What is your ultimate coaching goal?
To develop goalkeepers into confident productive athletes and citizens on and off the field. Would I love to coach at the US National Team level absolutely but there are many factors contribute to that path out of my control. I am very fortunate to have Keeperstop.com as a platform to educate goalkeepers from the travel and youth national team ranks individually, small group, or clinic environments as well as their coaches and parents.
Any advice for young goalkeeper coaches just entering their careers?
Train with a no regrets mentality. Give it your best on every save. Don’t ever take it for granted. Do the best with what you are given. If you take these life principles to heart training and your best game performance comes easier as well as problem resolution.
If you weren’t a goalkeeper coach, what do you think you would be?
Cant imagine anything else !