Dave Ferguson – @GoalkeeperHelp
Name: Dave Ferguson
Current Position: Director of Goalkeeping FSCI Phoenix- Fredericksburg, VA- USA, Preseason Goalkeeper Coach- Misericordia University- Dallas, PA, USA, and a PEGLIYL Sponsored Coach USA.
Years Coaching Goalkeepers: 11 years
What is your background? I started as a goalkeeper back in the youth club days. I went into the nets in the U-12 level and rarely came out of the net. I spent years playing at club, high school, and collegiate level. Once the collegiate days were done, I took a strong interest in giving back to the goalkeeping position as a coach. I was fortunate to move right from training and playing collegiately to coaching as a high school goalkeeper/varsity assistant. I spend a few years coaching there, working college preseasons, taking my NSCAA courses, and working for some camps including SoccerPlus, but then stepped away from coaching and officiated while working on my masters degree. After a three year hiatus, I was at a club tournament recruting and saw some mistakes by the goalkeeper that weren’t addressed by the HC or assistants and I was like why are they not helping the keeper. At that moment the bug really hit, I knew I missed training so I was fortunate to be signed by FSCI a short time later. Maybe some divine intervention…. I’ve continued now with my current positions and am enjoying the opportunity to network and continue to grow and learn from others.
What got you into coaching? I’m an educator so the chance to teach is already something I always look forward to. My college coach Charles Edkins and my former college teammate Dave Kern really got me into it. I was a back up through college to Dave, but I got the training side and was a detail person, so they encouraged me to take my abilities to help develop other keepers and players. Coach is still at the university and has me back annually to assist with his college keepers and Dave is a professional gk coach with the Harrisburg City Islanders and we all bounce ideas off each other at different points, so the circle continues.
What is your coaching philosophy? Our keepers are only as good as the training, both mentally and physically, they receive from us. We need to continue to grow and give our keepers quality training sessions so their match play is second nature. Attitude is also huge. A keepers attitude will change a lot of what we can train with them.
Who has been a mentor to your through your coaching career? Is there a coach who impacted you to get into coaching? Yes my college coach, Charles Edkins, has been the biggest impact on me. He’s continued to be there for me and will also talk with me about changes. It’s humbling to have the person who taught you, asking you questions and taking your training ideas and using them. My old high school coach, Shawn Inlow, also pushed me to always remember where I came from and to give back to the grassroots community too.
Do you feel that the role and importance of a goalkeeper coach has been fully realized in the coaching community? Overall no. Thankfully I’m involved with a club that sees the importance of low training ratios, and the necessity to have our goalkeepers focused on. The financial side of it makes it difficult too for some groups. Sadly some coaches just think the keeper is a shot stopper and doesn’t realize all the other tools they have or could have to assist in the teams’ successes.
Looking back, how have you seen your coaching develop from when you first started to now? I was originally a self taught goalkeeper, where I read books and designed sessions for myself and the other keepers, then I went to college and had formal training. From there Coach Edkins said I should look at the NSCAA and their courses. I’ve taken my NSCAA courses, I continue to read multiple books, watch videos on YouTube, and look at courses, but now with social media like Twitter I’m able to interact with my peers on mulitple levels. It’s humbling and exciting to talk with pros, have them question you, agree, disagree, etc. The social media aspect is huge as we continue to grow and educate others.
How do you design your training sessions? I try to take input from the keepers and head coaches. What are areas of weakness that need focus. Once I get that information, Ill go through my files and pick out the training items that will address the issues. Sometimes, Ill go to my books, call a peer, check with folks on twitter etc.
My plans though always include a warm-up, specific training items, psychological and match play discussion, and a cool down piece.
How do you motivate your keepers behind your first string to ensure competition for the position? I tell them all it takes is one injury, so if they are called upon they can make it obvious why they are the second string or they can go out and give the coaching staff a real decision to make in the future. Keeping the training sessions themselves competitive make the keepers push hard. I find ways in each session to make the keepers go out and make each other better and challenge each other. I myself spent the majority of my collegiate career as a back up, so I explain that you owe it to your team to be ready if they need you.
What is your ultimate coaching goal? I’d love to be able to work full time as a collegiate goalkeeper coach, but unfortunately with a family of 4 that’s not in the cards. I guess continuing to give back to other coaches and keepers is the ultimate goal. Seeing my keepers go on to further their careers is what it’s about. Their success on and off the field is what it is all about. In the end when my players are doing the right thing then I have reached my goal.
Any advice for young goalkeeper coaches just entering their careers? Be the one who inspires and gets the best out of your players. Be involved with the team as a whole too. Don’t isolate yourself as just the goalkeeper coach. Keep learning the game and soak up as much as possible. Don’t forget quality over quantity.
If you weren’t a goalkeeper coach, what do you think you would be? If I wasn’t coaching goalkeepers, I’d probably be focusing on getting a doctorate in education, but for now Ill just keep on keeping on, and also being a father and husband.