Making It Pro:

  Being a footballer in Dubai can be a tough gig at times! Yes, we get the amazing facilities and amazing weather and professional coaches, but for those who want to take football that little bit further and develop their skills into a career, it can be tough to break through or get your chance! Luckily at Just4Keepers, many of the coaches also coach within a professional academy set-up, or have played at a professional level during some stage of their career, and hopefully this network of over 100 coaches can allow you expose those opportunities! That’s what being part of J4K is all about! We sat down with J4K Ireland Head Coach and former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Matt Gregg to get his best 5 tips of how to make a career out of being a goalkeeper! Matt Gregg in his Palace days!   TIP 1: TRAIN AS YOU PLAY Train as you play, if you DO NOT train at 100% effort and commitment there is no point going training at all. You need to train at match pace every time you step onto the training ground, otherwise when you enter the pitch on match day you will be caught out by the pace of play! Being a Professional Goalkeeper for 18 years I had the pleasure to train & work with some great Goalkeepers and Managers. One of the first tips I can remember was from my youth team coach Kevin Hodges at Torquay Utd, Kevin went on to be 1st team manager and played me at Wembley in a Play-Off Final Vs Colchester Utd TIP 2: ALWAYS BE LISTENING Always listen to advice from EVERYONE! Even if you DO NOT gel with a certain coach, a coach might tell you 100 things, most of which you might not agree with, but if just ONE bit of advice helps you improve it is worth listening to the other 99! Kevin was a huge influence on my career, and he instilled this training mentality in me that has stayed with me through out my career, and even into my coaching now.   TIP 3: KEEP ‘EM UP! NEVER let your standards drop, even when you move to a bigger club and think you have now ‘arrived’ this is the time you need to work even harder, as there is always a Goalkeeper behind you working as hard as you did to get there! While at Torquay these simple principles helped me to a dream transfer to Crystal Palace when Terry Venables paid £400,000 (~2million AED) and gave me a 4-year contract, with a highlight of a Semi-Final appearance at Anfield in the Semi-Final of the League Cup. I will admit after such a dream move my training standards dropped and I only managed around 20 first team appearances at Selhurst Park, whilst spending most of my time on the bench!   Matt now runs the successful J4K program in Ireland! TIP 4: ENJOY IT! Make sure you enjoy your training and DO NOT put undue pressure on yourself. Players train and perform at there best when they enjoy and look forward to training After such a big move at the age of only 19 it was pretty daunting arriving at the Palace training ground, with Terry Venables though it was soon enjoyable, he made sure that his players were relaxed and enjoyed training. TIP 5: Keep it simple! DO NOT over think what you are doing, the more you think the less time you will have to react during games, if you put the hard work in during your training sessions it should all just happen naturally on a match day Terry always used to ensure we did not complicate a simple game, I sincerely agreed with him then and I do so EVEN more so now, with a lot of players in my opinion being over coached. EVERY Goalkeeper and every player is different and will have different techniques. At the end of the day keeping the ball out of the net is the man job of a goalkeeper! REMEMBER, WE HAVE JUST4KEEPERS UK COACH AND PRO SCOUT ANDY WOODCOCK COMING TO THE UAE FOR OUR 3 DAY SPRING CAMP!   BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE TODAY! SPACES ARE LIMITED! AND DON’T FORGET…   WE’RE GIVING AWAY A PLACE ON OUR UK RESIDENTIAL!!