About Fly Keeper
The flying goalkeeper. A tactic that often causes confusion for those who are new to the game of Futsal. Here we explain a little bit more about it.
When executed properly ‘fly keeper’ is a great tactic for a manager to employ in times of need. Simply put fly keeper is when a team positions their goalkeeper in the opponent’s half to assist in the attack. This creates an overload in the number of outfield players (5v4) and thus making it easier for the attacking team to retain possession of the Futsal ball and create a goalscoring opportunity. However the risk of implementing this tactic is that the attacking team end up leaving their goal unguarded. The important point to note here is that in 2010 FIFA adapted the fly goalkeeper rule so that the goalkeeper could only touch the ball again once it has crossed the halfway line. The only way the goalkeeper can repeatedly touch the ball currently is if they are in the attacking half. It is essential then that all players on court are technically proficient in executing their passes quickly and accurately otherwise fly keeper becomes a high risk tactic.
Originally the tactic was seen by all as high risk and was used only as a last resort in the dying minutes of a game to rescue a point but more recently fly keeper is also being used as a way of maintaining possession of the Futsal ball and therefore as a tactic to close games out for teams who are holding onto a small lead.
In modern Futsal some teams have even employed this tactic early on in games. For example at the Four Nations tournament held at Northumbria University in the summer of 2014, the USA goalkeeper played a large portion of the game in the opposition half. Whilst this is a highly unorthodox approach the tactic worked. The USA goalkeeper was clearly as good outfield as he was in goal but that’s not the case for most Futsal goalkeepers and because of this teams usually replace the goalkeeper with an outfield player (wearing a goalkeepers jersey) as the 5th man. It should be noted that the outfield players goalkeepers jersey must have his own squad number on the back, so choosing which member of your squad will play in this role before the game begins is essential.
Executing the fly keeper tactic
There are some key principals to employ when performing fly keeper. The diagram below shows how the attacking team and defensive teams typically set up.
Attack – The objective is to move the ball as quickly as possible to keep the defensive unit moving and to break it up. This creates space for either a shot at goal or to work a pass towards one of the two attacking players positioned nearest the goal. Because of the attacking overload there is little need to rotate position and players tend to work their position zonally in the areas shown. A key point to note is that if an attempt on goal is made then it must be made with purpose. The attack has to be ‘finished’ with either a goal or a shot that can not be caught by the goalkeeper. The strike MUST be firm to prevent the defence launching a counter.
Defence – the objective is to create as many layers of defence as possible between the ball and goal at all times and to maintain the shape as a unit to stop gaps appearing. Pressing the three attacking players positioned nearest the half way line is not wise as this will result in a breakdown in defensive shape. If the ball is worked to one of the two attacking players positioned nearest the goal then this provides the defending team with the opportunity to press quickly and win the ball. Defending the fly keeper requires a great deal of patience, a high level of intensity and equal passion, clear communication and if the ball is intercepted, a keen eye for slotting the ball into an empty goal.
Watch this video of one of the best Club teams in Spain, Inter Movistar, performing the fly keeper tactic.