|Protecting the Keeper|
The goalkeeper in his/her penalty area enjoys the use of hands. After a save, they are given 6 seconds to put the ball back into play.
Goalkeepers are open to injury simply by the nature of their position. They are the most vulnerable person on the field. Coaches, players and referees must be sensitive to this fact and behave & advocate safe play, when contact around the goalkeeper is at issue. Coaches must teach responsible challenges, and players must learn to back off.
The only fair charge allowed is shoulder-to-shoulder. If a keeper is charged head on, from the rear, or by a feet first challenge, then referees are expected to protect the keeper and stop play. Referees must always give the benefit of the doubt to the keeper!
If a goalkeeper is flat on the ground, or stretched out exposing vital organs, face or fingers, then a charge using a foot is not fair. In fact, it may be dangerous/unsporting at a minimum (yellow card), or serious foul play/violent conduct (red card).
If a goalkeeper has one finger on the ball or even if the keeper's hands are close, the safety for the keeper is the most important consideration. A keeper's hand against an attacker's foot is not 50-50; not fair; not balanced; just not right. The referee must blow the whistle immediately. Attackers who put keepers at risk must be warned and penalized if necessary.
We want children to learn skills in a safe, sane, sporting environment. Players in harm's way do not learn skills. Youth soccer is safety first.
Remember, soccer is a tough, physical, combative contact sport. But it is also by law, tradition, and spirit of the game; fair and sporting.