The goalie in soccer mans a very unique position, one that requires quick reflexes, strong endurance, a mature attitude, and a feel for leadership. Pennsbury’s Peter Beider possesses all these essential attributes.
A family hierarchy led to Pete’s choice of positions. “When I was 8 or 9 we had a net in our yard and my brother, since he was two years older, told me to get in goal and play goalie. Ever since that moment I’ve loved playing that position.”
That initial indoctrination led to a passionate feeling for goal tending. “One of the things I love about being goalie is you’re able to direct your teammates as to where you need them to be. From the goal keeper’s stand point it’s a lot more strategic game. You can see the whole field and direct people where to go, when to pass, and what to do. There is also the big moment element where you get to make saves.”
Being the last-line-of-defense does bring extra pressure. Pete learned that you have to keep the game in perspective. “The first thing about being a goalie is getting through the mental block of thinking ever goal is your fault, and even if it is, it got past 10 other players. You can’t down yourself. You just have to move passed it.”
Having conquered any self-doubts, the goalie can then concentrate on the task at hand. “Anticipation is key. You have to read the game and see where the next play is coming from a step ahead of everyone else.”
Pete readily acknowledges that certain physical demands accompany the mental stress. “Obviously you’re not running as much as the other players but you need to stay in physical shape. When you have to dive it takes a lot out of you. It requires a lot of agility so the footwork is key. You have to make sure you’re diving correctly. You have to be fearless and go out and get the ball.”
When the ball moves to the offensive end of the field the goalie still needs to remain alert. Soccer is a very swift game with changes in momentum happening at any time. Pete knows, “You always have to stay100% focused because the game can switch in a moment. I always scan the field and note where my opponent’s attackers are. You have to be ready for any possible breakthrough.”
Fortunately, Pete has been able to remain in “ready” mode for a good part of the season. His Falcon teammates have been soaring and presently have a hold on first place in the Suburban One League National Division with a perfect 6-0 record. Their only blemish in non-league encounters was a 1-1 tie with Downingtown West. They have out scored their opponents by a 31- 14 margin.
As a second-year captain, Pete values the winning effort of all his teammates. “I couldn’t be happier. We all know each other and have played with each other for a while. We all know our roles. The defense has been stellar. They’ve been blocking everything. The midfield has been playing fantastic as well. We have several juniors who haven’t had much varsity experience but have stepped up. The attack is lethal, is the best way to describe it. They’re scoring goals and creating opportunities.”
If the Falcons can keep up their superior play, they will undoubtedly reach their season goal. “The past two years as a program we haven’t qualified for districts so our main goal is to get into districts. We have other mini goals along the way. The first was to beat Council Rock North who was league champ (Pennsbury won 2-1). Now our next goal is to stay on top of Council Rock.”
Another mini-goal was undoubtedly to beat their archrival Neshaminy to remain unbeaten in the first half of the SOL season. The Falcons rose to the occasion to soundly defeat the ‘Skins 4-0. “The game with Neshaminy was huge because of their record and because we saw them dismantle Holy Ghost. We saw them come out with so much energy and heart and thought if we don’t match their intensity it’s going to be a long day.”
The rest of the SOL undoubtedly views Pennsbury in a similar way. They know that to beat the Falcon’s they will have to match their intensity.