One of the Azkals’ most popular and decorated players will be sharing his knowledge about the art and science of goalkeeping with Pinoy shot-stoppers next month.
The Neil Etheridge Goalkeeping School will take place in the Manila Polo Club from May 18 to 23 and May 25 to 30.
Neil was between the sticks during the Azkals’ fabled semifinal run at the 2010 Suzuki Cup and was also first-choice when the Philippines reached the final four in the 2012 Challenge Cup. The 25-year old has been capped 43 times for the Philippines and has played professionally in England with Fulham, Oldham Athletic, Bristol Rovers, and Crewe Alexandra. He is currently with Charlton Athletic in The Championship, the second tier of English club football.
An England international at U-16 level, Etheridge is also the first Filipino to play in the UEFA Cup, a feat he accomplished when he was still with Fulham.
Etheridge is eager to share his knowledge to all kinds of Pinoy keepers.
“I like to think of this goalkeeping school as an experience for all ages, all types of goalkeepers and all levels of goalkeeping,” says the Azkal.
“It would be easy for me to stand around and just monitor how people are doing in these sessions coming up but for me that would be too simple. I want to get involved, get among the groups as much as possible” adds Etheridge.
“I have learned no matter how old or how young you are a goalkeeper, there is always something to learn and/or improve on. It will be nice to get among everyone and teach them what I have learned over my professional career so far.”
For sure Etheridge’s module will be attuned to the style of goalkeeping today, which at times can be very adventurous.
“You look back over the years when the goalkeeper didn’t have the pass back rule, where they could pick the ball up at any time. Now they have to be skilled with their feet and pass the ball out the back and also make a good decision when to kick the ball long.”
Etheridge will definitely leave no stone unturned in honing the games of his charges.
“I am planning to cover all aspects of goalkeeping over the sessions. From footwork, handling, cross taking and shot stopping. As you know the goalkeeper is now used as a big part of the team and the defensive line, both with their feet and their ability to make saves in critical times of the game.”
“I think sometimes people can overlook the importance of a goalkeeper. They may see them as a person in between the sticks that just makes saves but now in this day and age they are far more important. Managers, the higher the level you reach, demand more than just a save every so often. It is a position that managers now rely on to keep the team in the game so they can win or keep a clean sheet for minimum a draw.”
Etheridge says that a carefully-chosen staff of goalkeeper instructors will be with him in the course to help mentor the attendees.
Eventually it seems that Neil wants nothing less than for kids to be passionate about the position and to grow to love it as well.
“In the modern game the goalkeeper is now looked as an important part of the team. I feel that for the development of Filipino football it shouldn’t just be about kids to learn to play the position properly. It’s also mainly about enjoying playing the position in the same way most kids enjoy playing as a striker and scoring goals.”
To reserve a slot at the Neil Etheridge Goalkeeping School contact MaC2 Group Manila at +63 927 889 2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The course fee is P9,000 per week.