The last defense: what it’s like to be Biola’s goalkeeper

Briana Williams and JT Addington share about the steps they each had to take to to become the goalies that they are today.

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Soccer goalkeepers senior Briana Williams and junior JT Addington share about the steps they each had to take to to become the goalies that they are today. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES

Laurie Bullock and Jack Finck

Soccer goalkeepers junior JT Addington and senior Briana Williams share about the steps they each had to take to to become the goalies that they are today. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES. See the full photo shoot gallery here.

 

Standing as the last line of defense in any sport could cause many athletes to crumble under the pressure. However, goalkeepers use the pressure of having all eyes on them as a way to push themselves to excel so that they can push their teammates to do the same.

ADDINGTON USES POSITION TO BACK UP TEAMMATES

The men’s goalkeeper, junior JT Addington, has started in goal for the Eagles since the beginning of the 2013 season. Addington had a 14-3-1 record while playing for Biola last year, and currently holds a record of 3-0-1 this season.

“Prior to training camp after freshman year, I wanted to have a spot,” said Addington. “So I worked really hard on different skills that I knew I needed to work on to become a starter so that going into training camp I was able to prove myself in order to get that spot.”

Addington earned the starting goalkeeper position, and helped the Eagles with a .746 save percentage. With his first year in goal, Biola reached the GSAC Championship where they lost to Concordia.

“Being goalkeeper comes with a lot of leadership,” said Addington. “It is different from a lot of spots because you can see the whole field, so other than just saving the ball it’s your job to help your teammates know where to go and kind of lead them throughout the game.”

Addington described his pregame ritual as one that helps him focus on who he plays for and why he plays the game. He reaches the left post and moves his way over to the right, and then touches the ground and jumps up to touch the crossbar, forming a cross.

Being the goalkeeper for a soccer team is arguably one of the most high pressured positions in sports. Addington uses this to his advantage.

“I guess the stress makes me play better,” said Addington, “like, to the best of my ability because I know there’s a lot on the line being the last defender, the last line of defense. If I am not playing my best we could go down a goal or lose the game because of how I’m playing.”

Addington hopes to continue to help the team achieve success this season and plans to help by being more aggressive, rushing at defenders out of the box more and being bigger in goal.

WILLIAMS LEARNS LIFE LESSONS FROM THE PRESSURE ON THE FIELD

For senior Briana Williams, the pressure that comes from goalkeeping has been influential to her on and off the field.

“Being a goalkeeper really makes you be more patient, and analytical and cautious as a player,” Williams said. “That’s really helped me as a player and in my life to make decisions and relate to people.”

Williams was not always a goalkeeper. She started out as a forward and made the transition to goalkeeper in club teams and high school. Williams’ experience as a forward gives her an edge to guess where the opposing team is going to strike.

Williams started in 15 games last season and had a 7-8-1 win record for the Eagles. Throughout the entire season Williams had 67 saves.

The excitement that comes with saving a shot and the encouragement from her teammates are all important to Williams, but the way soccer shaped her will stay with her after Biola.

“For me, soccer has always been an outlet for me to experience God. I feel like it’s where God is using my talents and abilities,” Williams said. “I feel like it’s knowing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing throughout my life and where I have learned a lot about myself.”

Unfortunately, a part of the game involves having goals slip by. Williams stressed the importance of making sure that the team knows that she feels alright and is ready to recover and move on.

“It’s not all about being scored on or not,” Williams said. “My identity can’t be wrapped up in that. If I can’t be the perfect keeper because God has designed me to do this, and I can learn from my mistakes and grow with my team as I support them and they support me.

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