From watching your fellow teammates score goals and celebrate with an adrenalized dance, to waiting patiently for your time to shine by saving a goal in a clutch situation – which maybe happens once or twice during a 90-minute game period – goalies are often overshadowed and taken for granted.
But Yannic Horn, a senior goalkeeper for Georgia State’s men’s soccer team, prides himself in being the defensive anchor, so to speak, that his fellow teammates can rely on during any match, even if that means he can’t score goals himself.
Playing the position of goalkeeper, though, is one Horn has learned to love to the core.
“Definitely,” Horn said when asked if he would love the opportunity to display his inner Cristiano Ronaldo, by striking a goal past opposing goalkeepers.
“I always tell coach Surrency, ‘whenever there is a lack of strikers he could just put me on top, and I will guarantee results.’ But all jokes aside, I am happy to be a goalkeeper and would not trade this position for anything in the world, and moreover, I think our team has a fantastic attacking line, and I would just step on their toes if I would be a striker,” Horn said.
Fortunately for Horn, he doesn’t have to cogitate on whether he would have to compete for playing time at another position because he has proven to be extremely productive as a goalie. During his time at Georgia State (the 2016 season), Horn has made 71 saves to rank ninth in program history for saves in a season, according to georgiastatesports.com.
So what’s the key to his success?
“I have always been dedicated and ambitious of being a goalkeeper,” Horn said. “It is not only a position to me; it is a passion. Furthermore, throughout my whole career, I always left everything on the field and always tried to get better every day through specific goalkeeper practice and my coaches — which helped me a lot to become the player I am today.”
Horn has also proved to be a durable player for the Panthers — starting every match for nearly 2,030 minutes in goal. As a goalkeeper, physical contact with other players is very seldom, but Horn knows that injuries are part of the game, and it is his duty to make sure he is properly taking care of his body.
“It is important to listen to your body if you are in some kind of pain — being ambitious and playing in pain sometimes is necessary, but to a certain extent,” he said. “Using the trainers and the given facilities to get back to 100 percent, or to stay at 100 percent, is very important for every athlete and should not be taken for granted.”
Mentally, a goalkeeper has to remain composed, although frustration can arise, often due to the possibly lackadaisical defense your teammates are playing. As the last line of defense, Horn understands that he can’t scrutinize his teammates if they put him in positions to make an abundance of saves.
“No one makes mistakes on purpose, and essentially if no one made mistakes, I would not have a job as a goalkeeper,” Horn said. “It is my duty to try to help my team stay in the game if they make mistakes. I always try to make them feel confident in themselves, so they always know that there is someone behind them who is there to help them.”
Although Horn can’t contribute to scoring goals on the field, he still plans to score big this season.
“My main goal this season is to win titles with this incredible group of guys. We have an enormous amount of talent in this group, and it’s my main goal this season to come as far as possible to earn ourselves some rings in my last year in collegiate soccer,” he said.