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Indiana Daily Student

IU junior directs defense from goal

For a game that is predominantly played with the feet, Colin Webb is something of an anomaly, being the only person on his team that gets to use his hands during a game of soccer.

Like almost every kid starting out, the junior goalkeeper started as a field player.

“I started out playing in midfield and then once I was put in goal at a young age, I never really got out,” Webb said. “It wasn’t that I woke up one morning and said I wanted to play goalkeeper, I kind of ended up there.”

However, Webb does admit playing in goal has allowed him to play for the teams he wanted to play for growing up, and he does not look back on the shift in 
position with much regret.

Goals help teams win a game of soccer but that rule does not apply for Webb. Webb’s job is to prevent opponents from scoring against IU; he is the last person standing in between the goal and a hopeful attacker.

Goalkeepers go through different training routines, look out for different things and adopt a different approach to the game. They share in the team’s glory, but sometimes their mistakes are more pointed compared to the field players.

“It’s a way different mentality than field players,” Webb said. “It can be mentally taxing because you have to be locked in for 90 minutes even if you might not be doing something physically. You could literally not have a save for 88 minutes and then have to come up with a big save to keep your team in the game in the 89th minute.”

It is a challenge Webb relishes. For Webb, being a goalkeeper is more than making saves; it also involves organizing his defense. Webb observes how opponents attack and tells his defense what needs to be done to nullify the threat.

“Most of what I do is mental and tactical,” Webb said. “A lot of organizing the defense and thinking through what the attacking moves will be and how to eliminate potential problems, so it’s a lot more 
mental than physical.”

Webb said he believes he has built a good relationship based on trust with his defensive players. They know he can back them up when needed, and he knows he could say the same for them.

“It’s my second year now with him,” sophomore defender Grant Lillard said. “We’ve had chemistry over the years, so we’ve been able to learn from each other and how each other like to play.”

To Webb, those are skillsets are required of a good goalkeeper, but Webb said he believes the key ingredient that separates a good goalkeeper from a very good one is consistency.

“I think consistency is one thing that separates good goalkeepers from the rest of the pack,” Webb said. “You don’t necessarily have to make spectacular saves, you have to make the saves to keep the team in your game.”

His performance since arriving at IU has been just that, and he has made the goalkeeping position his own. Webb has most recently been named to the 2015 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team Thursday.

Webb harbors hopes of going pro, and he has already represented the United States at the U-15 and U-17 levels and also has had training stints with professional clubs in Europe.

“The MLS would definitely be my next step if I am to go pro,” Webb said. “I can only control the day to day practices and games, but (going pro) is something that you have at the back of your mind. But if you just start thinking about that and not focusing on the day to day then you’ll never get there.”

The California native 
currently leads the Big Ten in shutouts and averages one shutout in two games.

The Hoosiers know they can always count on Webb whenever he is in goal and for him to come up big in the most important moments.

“Colin has had a good year,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. One of the things he does well is that he manages the game the well. He has a good temperament and does not get rattled. He’s just one that you know that he’s not going to give you a soft one and that’s really important for a back. Colin will be there, and he’s going to be steady, and you want your goalie to be steady.”

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