Eric Wiberg started out being an assistant coach for his daughter’s soccer team. While coaching his daughter’s team, he coached his first goalkeeper. What started out as a parent helping support his daughter’s soccer team grew into a hobby training goalkeepers, and then morphed into the Wiberg Wisconsin Goalkeeper School. It all started with one goalkeeper. Soon there were 5, then 15, and now he coaches more than 40 keepers year round and also offers summer camps and training. Wiberg explains, “Wiberg Wisconsin Goalkeeper School serves kids who are interested in being soccer goalkeepers starting at 7 to 8 years old, to current college level goalkeepers that I work with weekly.”
Early on, Wiberg realized that goalkeeper was the most under coached position in soccer, yet is a vital position in the game. Wiberg started coaching back in 2004, and in 2008 he created the Wiberg Wisconsin Goalkeeper School. He explains, “I realized that many of my goalkeepers were good enough to play in college, so I started filming videos of the kids I coached and placed them on my website, sending the videos off to college soccer coaches across the country. In the last 6 years I have had over 80 college placements, with over half of them at the D1 level.” Some of his keepers travel as far as 3 hours each way to work with Wiberg.
Wiberg partners with Stan Anderson (on the University of Wisconsin Men’s Soccer Team staff and Camp Shutout founder/owner) to offer a growing number of camps and clinics. Wiberg and Anderson are presenting their 8th annual “Wisconsin Road Show” this year. The first Wisconsin Road Show was held in June 2007 in Stevens Point, WI. Road Show camps are now also being held in Michigan and Illinois. While Stan Anderson’s Camp Shutout has grown into the world’s largest goalkeeper camp.
Wiberg says, “In late July, the 25th annual Camp Shutout will be held in Stevens Point. Stan started Camp Shutout in 1989 with 4 goalkeepers. This year, there will be 300 goalkeepers in one place for seven days of training. Goalkeepers even fly in from overseas to attend this event, as many people do not realize that the United States is considered the best goalkeeper development country in the world. After I filmed Evelina Hellgren (Sweden) and sent out her videos to college coaches, she received a scholarship at a D1 school in the United States.”
Parents Kellie and Jody Brault turned to the Wiberg Wisconsin Goalkeeper School when their daughter wanted to become the best keeper that she could be. “Kennedy has played soccer since she was five years old. Her dad was her coach for almost every one of those years. Each year, we could see Kennedy’s passion and determination intensify. We could see her raw talent. We could also see that if we were going to support Kennedy’s dream of playing varsity soccer at a high school of over 2,200 students, we would have to connect her with a quality keeper coach.
During the last nine months that Kennedy has been training at Wiberg Wisconsin Goalkeeper School, we have observed Kennedy’s keeper skill sets develop into levels beyond what we could have hoped was possible. Kennedy has made incredible strides in improving her extension dives, reading a one-on-one while getting big and wide, tipping shots up and over the goal, and how to set up the defense to best protect the goal on corners. We’re very proud to call our daughter a Wiberg Keeper!”
Michelle Rothmeyer’s son began training with the Wiberg Wisconsin Goalkeeper School in Fall 2012 — he was nine years old at the time. He was interested in playing goalkeeper and her husband, himself a competitive soccer coach, did his best to find online videos that could help him design goalkeeper-specific training. It simply wasn’t enough — he didn’t have goalkeeper-specific training and he needed to focus on the rest of the boys on the team.
It may seem a bit “much” to start training a nine-year-old as a goalkeeper, but if you know anything about competitive soccer you know that young players are schooled in age-specific foot drills, ball control, positioning, set plays and team play from the onset. Why should goalkeeping be any different? And yet it is. Goalkeeping is the most under-coached position on the pitch and yet it is a position that requires quick reaction times, the ability to read the field, the confidence to assume control of the backfield, great footwork and mental acuity.
“Eric’s training is intense, focused and deliberate,” she says. “Every single thing they do during those two hours has a purpose — even the ‘games’ that cap off a practice. On the physical side, Eric focuses on exercises designed to develop goalkeeper-specific core strength, footwork, reaction times and form. Students are trained on a wide range of deflections, dives, punches and parries. And repetitive, fast-paced drills teach them to react and recover quickly.”
She adds, “In the past two years my son has been in two shoot-outs. He was victorious in both and while that in itself is an accomplishment — what really stood out to the parents (from both teams) was his form, reaction time, confidence and serenity. In both instances, parents from the opposing team have approached me to ask, ‘How does he do it?’ And I tell them — Eric Wiberg.”
Learn more about Eric Wiberg at: http://wibergwgs.com.