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Unexpected: The Goalkeepers that became the Goalscorers

Updated on August 8, 2017
Antonio Martinez1 profile image

Antonio Martinez graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in History and a double minor in Russian Area Studies and Journalism.

Luca Gasparotto (13) and Qullian Roberts (18) celebrate during a match for Canada in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Roberts became the first goalkeeper ever to score in any FIFA 11-a-side competition.
Luca Gasparotto (13) and Qullian Roberts (18) celebrate during a match for Canada in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Roberts became the first goalkeeper ever to score in any FIFA 11-a-side competition. | Source

Whetting the Appetite

One notable achievement any goalkeeper can do is score a goal in a match. Goalkeepers go on the offense if their club or country’s game or season hang in the balance. With each opportunity a goalkeeper plays offense, the risk becomes evident: either nothing comes of offense or a reward of epic proportions occurs.

History remembers notable goal-scoring goalkeepers like that of Rogerio Ceni, Jose Luis Chilavert or Dimitar Ivankov. No question these goalkeepers established a precedent either on free kicks or penalty kicks, the latter being a primary method of scoring preferred method. Regardless if it is one goal or 127 goals, any goalkeeper scoring in a match will be a moment of history. The first goal-scoring goalkeeper achieved this feat in 1900. Over 115 years has elapsed and numerous goalkeepers replicated this feat; some have scored when their club’s fortunes hung in the balance.

A First in the EPL

100 Years On, Daring Dane Sets the Stage

Brazilian goalkeeper Ceni capitalized on his opportunities and so did Paraguayan goalkeeper Chilavert, the latter who became the first goalkeeper to score a hat trick in a match. However, back in 1900 at the old Roker Park in Sunderland, England, Manchester City’s Charlie Williams launched a long 100-yard clearance to become the first goal-scoring goalkeeper. Eighty-five years on and England would be the country that an international goalkeeper established a precedent. He utilized his unusual height to become a notable goal-scoring goalkeeper. Interesting was that Peter Schmeichel’s scoring exploits began in Denmark during what became an ill-fated campaign. Schmeichel played three seasons for his Hvidovre; his second season was in 1985 and the goalkeeper scored six goals during that campaign.

In 1985, Hvidovre suffered relegation from Denmark’s top division. Schmeichel would get opportunities to continue scoring goals.

Schmeichel scored 11 goals overall, including a goal against Belgium in a 2000 friendly, a match in preparation for Denmark’s participation at Euro 2000. On Oct. 20, 2001, Schmeichel’s final goal came at Everton’s Goodison Park while the goalkeeper for Aston Villa in England’s Premier League (EPL). With his club Aston Villa trailing 3-1 to Everton, Schmeichel volleyed an incoming corner kick on the far post. Schmeichel became the first goalkeeper to score in the English Premier League (EPL), but Aston Villa lost the game 3-2.

As of 2017, Schmeichel is one of five goalkeepers to have scored in EPL.

In 2004, American goalkeeper Brad Friedel scored the tying goal while playing for Blackburn Rover at Charlton; Friedel’s club still managed to lose the game seconds later. In 2007, Paul Robinson launched a shot from 80 yards as his goal helped Tottenham Hotspur defeat Watford. It was not the only goal Robinson scored as a goalkeeper, as his goal, coming while Robinson was a goalkeeper for Leeds United, in a 2003 League Cup tied the match against Swindon Town.

Goodison Park would be the site of another goalkeeper scoring a goal, but this goal was wind-assisted. In a 2012 EPL match, American goalkeeper Tim Howard opened the scoring in the 63rd minute in what would be a 2-1 Everton loss to Bolton. Wind played another factor for the next goal; only 12 seconds elapsed at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium. Bosnian goalkeeper, also Stoke City’s goalkeeper, received a back pass and launched the ball past several Southampton defenders. The ball bounced and went past Artur Boruc (who had also scored a penalty while with Poland’s Legia Warsaw in 2004). An unusual goal had Begovic feeling sorry about the goal and opted not to celebrate after scoring the goal.

The goal was celebratory, because at 91.9 meters, Begovic has the Guinness Record for the longest goal by a goalkeeper.

Drama at Madjeski

More English Drama

Like Schmeichel, many other goalkeepers scored goals while playing for English club, including two that come to mind in unique situations.

During Reading's 2008-09 season in the English Championship (second division), Australia’s Adam Federici was the backup to American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. That was until a calf injury for Hahnemann saw Federici, having once scored in a friendly in 2006 against Bromley, become the starting goalie in December 2008. Reading hosted Cardiff City on Dec. 26, 2008. A scoreless draw was in the cards until an 89th-minute goal by Michael Chopra saw Cardiff City take the lead. Five minutes into stoppage time, Stephen Hunt struck a corner kick for Reading. Michael Duberry’s attempt cleared off the line, but Federici scored on the ensuing rebound, and Reading salvaged a draw.

That 1-1 draw was as dramatic as another 1-1 draw, which also came in English Championship. It came on Sept. 20, 2003, as Mart Poom played his first game at Pride Park as a visiting goalkeeper. One of Estonia’s best players became a household name as Derby County’s goalkeeper until the club suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2002. Poom immediately signed with Sunderland. Late in its match against Derby County, Sunderland trailed late on an Ian Taylor goal. Derby County looked to have secured the victory until Sunderland connected late on, thanks in part to a Sean Thornton lob toward Poom. The goalkeeper launched himself to head in the tying goal in what one commentator described as as "the best goal ever scored by a goalkeeper in the 90th minute on his first match against a former team."

One Last Chance

Last Gasps Abroad in Europe

Schmeichel also scored in a European club competition, even though his goal against Russian club Rotor Volgograd was not enough as Manchester United lost on away goals in a 1996 encounter. Still, several goalkeepers have seized their chances in Europe's club competitions.

Since 2000, four goalkeepers have scored a goal in the UEFA Champions League, with Eloy Casals being the most recent to score a goal. Casals scored his goal late in a match in 2014 against Andorra's Santa Coloma; the goal was vital as Casals and Santa Coloma advanced on away goals at the expense of Armenia's Banants.

Casals' goal sent Santa Coloma to the second qualifying round; another goalkeeper scored his to keep his club in Europe after the winter break. In 2009, Sinan Bolat guided Standard de Liege to its first group stage appearance in the Champions League in 2009. The Belgian champions faced Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar in its final group stage game, with a spot in the UEFA Europa League at stake. Standard Liege trailed 1-0 and needed a draw to avoid elimination; the club had one last opportunity via a Mohamed Sarr launched a free kick.

Bolat made the free kick successful with a headed goal, and the 1-1 draw sent Standard Liege into the Europa League at AZ’s expense.

Bolat saved Standard de Liege's European foray, whereas another goalkeeper salvaged what would become a dynasty of sorts in 2007. Defending UEFA Cup champions Sevilla travelled to Donetsk, Ukraine to face Shakhtar on Mar. 15, 2007, in the second leg of its Round of 16. Trailing 2-1 and with four minutes of stoppage time remaining, Sevilla was facing elimination. That was until Daniel Alves struck a corner kick that goalkeeper Andres Palop headed in to force extra time. The result helped Palop and Sevilla successfully defend the UEFA Cup title.

That was not the first goal scored by a goalkeeper in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup. Another goalkeeper scored a tying goal in the group stage on Nov. 2, 2006. He was on Italy's roster when it won the 2006 World Cup. Two weeks after that tournament, Marco Amelia found himself and his club Livorno in the UEFA Cup, an opportunity that came about due to Italy’s football scandal in 2006.

Livorno reached the group stage, but the Italian club's chances of reaching the Round of 32 looked in jeopardy as it trailed 1-0 to Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia. In the 87th minute, Livorno had an opportunity to tie the match. Dario Passoni struck a free kick in which Amelia rose up and headed the goal. Livorno, in its debut in Europe, escaped with a 1-1 draw and eventually reached the Round of 32.

Hans-Jörg Butt congratulates Mark van Bommel (17) and Philip Lahm (21) in a 2009 UEFA Champions League match. Butt scored 32 careers goals, including three goal in the Champions League, all coming via the penalty kick against Juventus.
Hans-Jörg Butt congratulates Mark van Bommel (17) and Philip Lahm (21) in a 2009 UEFA Champions League match. Butt scored 32 careers goals, including three goal in the Champions League, all coming via the penalty kick against Juventus. | Source

The Opening Goal of the Season

Making A Great Impression

Scoring a goal is a highlight of a goalkeeper's career, no matter the situation. That also applies for a goalie who has often been at his best in club football. He was capped only four times for Germany, but Hans-Jörg Butt developed into of football's great penalty kick takers in his club career. The first goalkeeper to score in the UEFA Champions League, Butt scored goals for three different German clubs: Hamburg (2000), Bayer Leverkusen (2001) and Bayern Munich (2009). All three times, Butt scored against Italian club Juventus.

It was also at Bayer Leverkusen that Butt scored on a penalty kick in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Apr. 17, 2004. However, after scoring the goal, Butt committed a blunder by not getting back to his net in time to prevent Mike Hanke from scoring at the halfway line of the pitch.

Butt is one of three goalkeepers to score in the German Bundesliga. The first goalkeeper to do so went on represent Germany as the starting goalkeeper for the 2006 World Cup. He scored his first goal against 1860 Munich, but Jens Lehmann added drama to the famous Revierderby by scoring the tying goal at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion.

In 2015, the latest goalkeeper to score in the Bundesliga did so after having missed the previous three months due to a knee injury. Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz scored the tying goal to give his club a vital point against Bayer Leverkusen in what would be the club's best season to date.

Some goalkeepers have a unique distinction of having scored a team's first goal in a match. Before becoming a YouTube sensation, Finnish goalkeeper Lassi Hurskainen starred at the University of North Carolina at Asheville while also playing in Finland's third division Kakkonen for Joensuu-based SC Riverball. During a game at HIFK (Helsinki-based club) on May 29, 2010, Hurskainen scored the first goal of the match.

A year later, another goalkeeper provided an even bigger shock to open a game on July 16, 2011. Austrian club Wiener Neustadt began its season at Mattersburg, the same place these two teams met just six weeks ago to end the previous season. In that season finale, Jörg Siebenhandl made his league debut Wiener Neustadt. When he next faced Mattersburg in July, Siebenhandl thumped an 81-meter shot to open the scoring in a 2-1 victory. Siebenhandl scored the first goal of the 2011-12 Austrian Bundesliga.

New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero is lifted up by teammate Andrew Boyens during an MLS match against Columbus in 2008. Cepero became the first goalkeeper to score in the MLS and did so on his debut.
New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero is lifted up by teammate Andrew Boyens during an MLS match against Columbus in 2008. Cepero became the first goalkeeper to score in the MLS and did so on his debut. | Source

American Pride

In 2008, Major League Soccer (MLS) witnessed its first ever goal-scoring goalkeeper. This moment came amidst unusual circumstances when the New York Red Bulls attempted to reach the playoffs. The starting goalkeeper for most of the Red Bulls' season, Jon Conway had to serve a ten-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs. So Danny Cepero started his first game on Oct. 18 in East Rutherford, N.J.

Cepero performed well against the Columbus Crew and with his team winning he entered into the history books. Cepero launched an 81-yard shot in the 83rd minute to secure the Red Bulls' 3-1 victory. Cepero joined Howard and Friedel as American goalkeepers who have scored a goal in a game, as did another former MLS goalkeeper.

He did so at Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim, Norway in 2007.

It was with the New England Revolution that Adin Brown helped the club reach the 2002 MLS Cup, but it was in Norway that Brown became a cult figure while playing for Norwegian club Aalesund. That moment came on July 2: Aalesund trailed 2-1 late in the game against Rosenborg. Brown headed the tying goal to give his club a vital 2-2 draw as the result helped Aalesund avoid relegation that season.

Betos: Allie Just Played the Perfect Ball

Scorcher at Suwon

Disaster for England

Love for Women and Young Ones!

Goal-scoring goalkeepers come in all ages and genders; women and young players stepped up to score vital goals. Perhaps no female goalkeeper stepped up at a crucial time than this former University of Georgia goalkeeper. It was during a women’s soccer match on June 19, 2015 in Portland, Ore. and Portland Thorns FC trailed FC Kansas City late in a match. The home team looked to salvage a point after playing the match a player down; on Portland’s ensuing corner kick, Michele Betos dove inside the penalty box and headed Allie Long’s corner kick to tie the match. Betos, the eventual Goalkeeper of the Year, became the first female goalkeeper to score in the National Women’s Soccer League

Betos’s goal set the stage for an historic season, but another female goalkeeper’s goal had a different story. During an FA Cup match on Sept. 14, 2009 Lincoln Ladies goalkeeper Kay Hawke thumped a deep ball to tie the match 1-1 at Birmingham City. With Lincoln Ladies team trailing 3-1, Hawke received a controversial red card and Hawke’s club lost 6-2.

Along with Hawke and Betos to score as a female goalkeeper was one that did so during a youth tournament. In 1993, Swedish goalkeeper Ulla-Karin Rönnlund was a member of the national under-20 squad and in the final against Ukraine, Rönnlund scored the lone goal to secure Sweden’s title. Rönnlund scored again 15 years later in a three-month span for Swedish club Umea. On Sept. 6, 2008, Rönnlund scored a 90th-minute goal as Umea’s match against Djurgarden finished 3-3. Rönnlund scored two months later as the goal ended Arsenal’s misery from the 2008-09 UEFA Women’s Cup.

Other goalkeepers proved that any goalkeeper can score at a young age. A place in the UEFA U-17 Championships was at stake in Makarska, Croatia on March 25. The hosts faced Switzerland needing a draw to reach the tournament, knowing a draw would be enough for Croatia. For 80 minutes (standard game for youth level match), Croatia could not breach Switzerland’s Rene Borkovic and the defense. Borkovic turned the tables on Croatia by scoring three minutes into stoppage time to Switzerland to its first UEFA Under-17 tournament in three years.

A long-distance goal may require occasional luck, as was such in Suwon, South Korea on July 27, 2008. South Korea’s under-23 squad hosted Côte d’Ivoire as both nations prepared for the upcoming Olympic football tournament. Goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong thumped an 85-meter shot that sailed over Vincent de Paul Angban’s head. Sung-Ryong held the record for the longest goal in that 2-1 victory before Howard surpassed it four years later. Another goalkeeper achieved an unprecedented feat in 2011 in Mexico.

It came at the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup amidst unusual circumstances as injury to Canada’s first-choice goalkeeper saw Quillan Roberts assume the role of unlikely hero. For Canada, the goal was to avoid yet another loss at this level in the World Cup. On June 22, Canada trailed England 2-1 in Pachuca, Mexico when Roberts launched a deep ball intended for Sadi Jalali. Instead, the ball bounced over two players and the English goalkeeper mistimed the ball.

The bounces helped make Roberts became the first goalkeeper to score in any FIFA 11v11 tournament.

Miracle at Brunton Park

Avoid Relegation: The True Goal

Roberts' goal in Mexico would not be enough to help Canada get out of the group stage. Like he and Schmeichel, many goalkeepers have scored goals that are special but part of what became ill-fated relegations for their respective clubs. In Italy's Serie A, Cremonese's Michelangelo Rampulla scored the tying goal to secure a valuable point against Atalanta. Cremonese finished 19th in Seria A in 1992 and suffered relegation while Rampulla signed for Juventus the following season.

Nineteen years later. Daniel Aranzubia became the first goalkeeper in La Liga to score from open play when he scored off a corner kick for Deportivo La Coruña in the 95th minute against Almeria. Aranzubia's goal was one of a league-worst 31 goals for Deportivo La Coruña as their 20-year stint in La Liga ended in 2011.

Finally, he became the first goalkeeper to score in the Eredivisie since 2005 during his team's second match against Excelsior on Aug. 17, 2014. However, Erik Cummins failed to keep Deventer-based club Go Ahead Eagles from staying in the top flight.

But almost every goal pales in comparison to what unfolded at Brunton Park on May 8, 1999. Carlisle United hosted Plymouth Argyle with one simple task: win or be out of England's Football League.

With its match tied 1-1 near the end of regulation, Carlisle United would be out of the Football League. With one last roll of the dice, Carlisle United sent all of its players onto the Plymouth end of the field, including goalkeeperJimmy Glass. Scott Dobie’s header did not go in, but Glass volleyed the second chance with his right foot, sending fans into delirium. Glass’s goal saved Carlisle United and condemned Scarborough, who drew 1-1 at home to Peterborough United, into the Football Conference.

Glass and all the goalkeepers who have scored a goal proved that it is not always in the name of what makes a great goalkeeper. Scoring is a rare feat and at times, may turn out to be the difference in surviving football, but in a match and to avoid relegation. There are risks for goalkeepers to score, but the rewards are priceless.

© 2015 Antonio Martinez

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    • Oliver Stark profile image

      Oliver Stark 2 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Crazy goals!

      I loved the way you have written this hub

    • kbdressman profile image

      kbdressman 2 years ago from Harlem, New York

      Very thorough and well-written hub! Having enjoyed playing soccer when I was younger, I really enjoyed your topic. I was pleasantly surprised to see you discuss more than just men's professional soccer. Great job!