The Construction of the Football Goalkeeper’s Identity: A Historical Approach

By Ludovic Tenèze, Martial Meziani, Hélène Joncheray

This study takes an innovative look at the history of the soccer goalkeeper’s identity construction (although there is no specific rule about him), codification of which has transformed over 150 years—as revealed through Board records, among other factors—making it possible to distinguish him from the other players. Indeed, the otherness of the goalkeeper has been highlighted through construction of a unique status that is characterized by factors such as a specific motricity, different clothing, and a positioning on the field distant from his teammates. The goalkeeper’s evolving interactions with the ball, and his own and other environments, have enabled him to transform his motricity and exceed his original function. He has gradually become the team’s first attacker—the initiator. By the end of the 20th century, he had assumed the role of a real support player when his team had the ball. Findings show that the apparent stability of the football goalkeeper’s identity, as displayed in the rules of the game, hide profound changes, sources for constructing his identity, and transformation.


  • history of football
  • goalkeeper
  • rules
  • identity
  • motricity
  • Board
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