Can an Average Guy Score a Free Kick on a Professional Goalkeeper?

For episode 2 of Above Average Joe, GQ's Clay Skipper heads to the soccer field to perfect his free kick. With help from New York's Major League teams—NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls—he just might score a goal.

Released on 8/6/2019

Transcript

00:00
So today's the day.
00:02
Final showdown.
00:03
We're at Red Bull Arena.
00:04
Some poor goalkeepers in there,
00:06
gonna have go up against this cannon of a leg.
00:08
[electronic music]
00:11
Ah, that [beep] hurts.
00:13
[Man] So you're gonna take 11 shots.
00:16
How many do you think you'll score?
00:21
Oh!
00:23
[laughing]
00:25
One. I'll score one.
00:27
[electronic music]
00:42
It's day one of free kick practice.
00:44
I'm here in New York, NYCFC's training facility.
00:47
We're here to work on my technique.
00:50
Which sucks, but will hopefully get better.
00:52
It's just past 10:55.
00:54
I believe their practice is about to start.
00:56
Go check it out and then we'll work on technique.
01:03
'Sup boys!
01:04
Hey, what's good?
01:05
How are you?
01:06
Great!
01:06
How are you?
01:07
Hi, I'm Anton. Anton?
01:08
Clay.
01:09
Alex.
01:10
What's up? Clay.
01:11
All right. You know what we're doing here today?
01:12
You're gonna teach me how to bend it like Beckham
01:15
around a wall I hope.
01:17
So I was a keeper up 'til high school,
01:20
but I was such a bad...
01:22
I was like, so bad with my foot skills
01:23
that other people took my goal kicks from me.
01:25
[laughing]
01:26
That's weird.
01:27
That's not a good omen.
01:28
Wait, isn't that, it's like really bad
01:29
in soccer when you're a keeper who doesn't think he's--
01:31
That's not a good sign.
01:32
That's not a good sign.
01:33
[Clay] No it's not.
01:35
Today I'm going to teach you the finesse shot,
01:37
the free kick.
01:39
Find a good piece of grass here.
01:40
Yeah.
01:41
And then just lay it there. Cool.
01:44
And then you take the, do you count your steps backwards?
01:46
This close I'll take maybe three, three and a half.
01:50
Not more. Okay.
01:51
You want your standing leg to be right around here.
01:54
For me, the most important is your standing leg.
01:59
That it's firm, close.
02:00
That you don't have movement when you shoot.
02:02
When I follow through, I go, I do like this kind of motion.
02:06
Okay.
02:07
Kinda. Yeah.
02:08
I got that.
02:11
Ah, I was way--
02:12
No, you went too much under the ball.
02:15
If you go too much under, that happens.
02:18
Oh man.
02:20
I think I can take a goal kick now though.
02:24
Sorry wall [laughs].
02:25
[upbeat music]
02:28
So the power shot.
02:29
Now we don't have a wall,
02:30
so you can aim in both corners of the goal.
02:33
Now we gonna try to hit the ball with,
02:34
on the top of the foot. Okay.
02:36
Come in like this, and then you continue with this.
02:38
Okay.
02:39
And then your upper body.
02:40
A little but like this.
02:41
[laughs] Feels, feels totally natural.
02:44
Oh!
02:45
From the days of taking goal kicks,
02:46
I'm used to sitting back,
02:46
and sort of trying to elevate the ball.
02:49
This is more about keeping my chest forward
02:50
and knee over it, and striking through.
02:52
Practice makes a master, right?
02:54
I think you'll see significant improvement
02:57
in just, you know, practicing all the time.
02:59
[ball thudding]
03:01
Oh man.
03:02
[laughing] I've got a lot of practice to do.
03:07
Now we're at the point of overthinking right now.
03:10
Here with coach Rob, an assistant coach for NYCFC.
03:12
Do you have any early notes based on those two sessions?
03:15
The early look was pretty good.
03:17
The one thing I would say to you is be confident.
03:20
Be confident when you approach
03:22
and how you're taking this on.
03:24
Did I not look confident?
03:25
There was some insecurity there.
03:27
[laughing] He's not wrong.
03:28
[laughing]
03:30
Again, most of it is your approach.
03:31
You have to get this thing right in the next two weeks.
03:33
Yeah.
03:34
You're gonna have to be a lot stronger--
03:35
Okay.
03:36
On your approach to be able to get the power.
03:38
To get it, to get it over.
03:39
This is what years of skipping leg day will do to you.
03:42
That was super helpful.
03:43
Anton, Alex, Coach Rob were great.
03:46
I think the biggest takeaways were
03:47
just approach the ball with confidence.
03:49
Also just practice.
03:50
That's the only way I'm gonna get more confident,
03:52
is to practice more.
03:53
Next two weeks I'm mostly just gonna focus on
03:55
taking as many shots as I can, so.
03:58
Might as well start now!
04:00
[electronic music]
04:02
[ball thumps]
04:03
Cut that. Edit that out.
04:05
[electronic music]
04:09
Day one NYCFC guys taught me technique.
04:12
Today's day two. We're gonna practice that technique.
04:14
[ball thumps]
04:14
Ah!
04:17
Just not gonna get enough power on it
04:19
to beat a professional goalie.
04:21
It seems so simple to like,
04:22
run hard at the ball and follow through,
04:24
and it's so fucking hard to do it when I,
04:26
for 29 years have been leaning back.
04:29
[groans]
04:31
Ah, that fucking hurt!
04:33
[Man] Your hamstring?
04:34
No, 'cause that was my toe.
04:36
[ball thumps]
04:38
I don't know if that's gonna get...
04:39
I don't know if that's get around the wall though.
04:41
[ching]
04:41
For the final challenge, unfortunately,
04:43
the wall, unlike practice, will be there.
04:45
[ball thumps]
04:47
[groans]
04:49
Oh!
04:52
Yikes.
04:54
So that's a wrap on technique.
04:56
Just 'cause it's gonna get in our short timeframe.
04:58
Now we're gonna work on power and placement.
05:00
Like this.
05:03
Oh!
05:04
[beep]
05:05
Like this. First take.
05:08
God damn it!
05:09
[laughing]
05:13
As you guys can see,
05:14
I've been traded from NYCFC to the Red Bulls.
05:16
So we're here at the Red Bull facility.
05:17
We've worked on my technique.
05:20
We have not worked on my placement,
05:22
so we have Danny Royer,
05:24
from the Red Bulls, and he's gonna show me
05:26
where to place the ball.
05:27
All right. Here we go.
05:28
I'll show you what I can do here.
05:30
Interesting, the steps. I wanna see that.
05:33
Oh god.
05:35
[ball thumps]
05:38
Did you go for the power post?
05:40
Yeah. You did?
05:42
Yeah. Definitely--
05:42
All right, I think he's lying.
05:43
[laughing]
05:46
Is that the way you feel most comfortable,
05:48
with curling, or like, to hit it with the laces?
05:50
I'll try one with the laces.
05:53
Yeah.
05:54
[groans]
05:58
I think we're gonna stay--
05:59
With the curl.
06:00
With the curl.
06:01
I think for you it's better to curl the ball over the wall.
06:04
Instead of knuckling it. Mm-hmm.
06:06
Which is definitely more difficult technique,
06:11
and it will be easier for you 'cause it's shorter distance.
06:15
So--
06:16
So my slow ass ball can get there faster.
06:17
Exactly.
06:18
Well because I'm so...
06:20
I've proven myself so adept at kicking these,
06:22
we should probably call in a keeper.
06:23
So I can actually, you know,
06:24
have some one test me a little bit.
06:25
Sure.
06:27
Ready?
06:33
[ball thumps]
06:34
[groans] I pulled up again.
06:35
You like, under hit it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
06:37
Your body shape was too far backwards.
06:38
Yeah.
06:39
And I think you should maybe just take,
06:42
just take three steps. Okay.
06:43
One, two, three.
06:45
And when you start, you go like this.
06:49
Did you notice?
06:50
Yeah, yeah I did notice that.
06:53
And then you go like this,
06:55
and then you go backwards.
06:57
[balls thumping]
06:59
[dramatic music]
07:00
I wouldn't do that.
07:01
Okay.
07:02
Just stand straight. Okay.
07:03
And like, while you're kicking,
07:04
just try to have the same body posture.
07:07
You're ready, goalie?
07:08
[ball thumps]
07:10
Woo! Aw.
07:12
So I think you should have a checklist before you do it.
07:15
So take the ball, place it the way you want to,
07:19
and then your checklist, like...
07:20
Take the three steps backwards,
07:23
Keep your body posture,
07:25
Look to the goalie,
07:27
and into the goal,
07:28
and like, aim a little more central than normally,
07:31
'cause it will curl to the left a little bit,
07:33
and then when you start, don't lose your body posture.
07:35
Okay.
07:37
Stay straight.
07:38
Run to the ball, and then also, don't under hit it.
07:41
Hit it with the right piece.
07:42
If you hit all these on your checklist,
07:45
it will be a good shot, I promise.
07:46
Well then the last box will be goal,
07:48
and then celebrate.
07:49
That's the last--
07:50
Exactly.
07:51
[ball thumps]
07:53
Good pace.
07:55
That was a really good pace.
07:56
Really?
07:57
Yeah.
07:57
So, a little more to the left.
07:59
That's a really good free kick.
08:00
Okay.
08:01
For an amateur.
08:01
[laughing]
08:03
Important caveat right there.
08:08
[ball thumps]
08:09
Yes!
08:10
Under hit it a little bit. Yeah.
08:11
That was the opposite way.
08:13
Now the accuracy was really good, I thought,
08:16
but the pace was not the best.
08:17
Okay.
08:18
Gotta get 'em both together. Yes.
08:19
I think you hit it too much with your toes,
08:22
like right here.
08:23
You should hit it more on the bone right here.
08:24
Okay.
08:25
You can't get great pace on it when you hit it here.
08:28
But when you hit a little closer,
08:29
you stand a little close and you hit it right there--
08:30
[Clay] Oh, interesting. Okay.
08:32
You'll definitely have a better one.
08:34
I'd say always, I always prefer the accuracy over the pace.
08:40
As long as it's accurate, you still can score.
08:42
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
08:43
But if you only hit it hard, but it doesn't go in frame,
08:47
you can't even score.
08:48
You know what I mean?
08:49
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
08:50
So it's better to first train your accuracy,
08:53
and then add more pace. Add more pace.
08:56
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
08:57
Instead of only kicking the ball hard,
08:58
and then like, trying to put in accuracy.
09:00
Yeah.
09:01
You know what I mean?
09:01
That's actually a really useful point.
09:02
'Cause I feel like I'm an effort guy,
09:04
so I just try, like, if I try harder,
09:05
maybe it'll be faster but--
09:07
That's the thing that takes time.
09:13
[ball thumps]
09:13
[Danny] Here we go!
09:14
Oh! [laughing]
09:16
That's really, really difficult to save.
09:20
[ball thumps]
09:21
[Danny] Yes.
09:22
Yes! Oh my god! That in?
09:23
Oh my god!
09:25
We did it.
09:25
That was awesome.
09:26
Now I'll never be able to do it again.
09:27
That was a good one.
09:28
It's 'cause the checklist.
09:30
I was running through the checklist.
09:31
Did you?
09:31
I did.
09:32
Will you ever go under the wall?
09:36
Yeah, I mean--
09:37
But is that something you have to
09:38
communicate that to your wall, right?
09:39
Or no, they see you kick it on the ground and they jump?
09:41
How does that work?
09:42
It's...
09:44
The other's team, the wall, so.
09:45
[laughs]
09:47
I mean, you could try and tell them,
09:48
Hey guys, I'm trying to score a goal, please jump.
09:51
I'm so screwed for this challenge.
09:52
When you do it, it will be your friends.
09:54
Exactly.
09:55
But in the normal game,
09:57
these are probably not my friends.
09:58
I might keep that in the pocket.
10:00
I might coordinate with them if I'm down to...
10:02
I have 11 shots, so if I'm down to like two shots,
10:04
and I haven't hit it, I might give them a wink
10:06
and sneak it under.
10:07
Okay. Yeah.
10:08
All right we just wrapped up practice with Danny,
10:10
and it was super useful.
10:12
I think the most important things he gave me where
10:14
the sort of checklist I should run through
10:16
before I take the shot,
10:17
the note about being accurate over power.
10:21
Oh, he also said not to kick the knuckle ball, ever, so.
10:25
I'll try to go over the wall.
10:27
See what happens.
10:29
[ball thumping]
10:30
I'm gonna nail this one.
10:32
[ball thumps]
10:33
[groans] Oh!
10:36
That was close.
10:37
I'm getting better.
10:39
I'm just an above-average Joe,
10:40
I'm not an exceptional Joe.
10:42
We're back at the Red Bulls' practice facility.
10:44
Where Danny taught me most of what I need to know.
10:47
We're gonna work on some curl shots.
10:48
Get ready for a couple days from now for the final showdown.
10:50
Let's do it.
10:52
I got a headband too.
10:54
[ball thumps]
10:55
Oh! [laughs]
10:58
[ball thumps]
11:00
Sorry Rohan.
11:01
[ball thumps]
11:02
Ah!
11:04
[ball thumps]
11:05
Shit.
11:06
[ball thumps]
11:07
Oh!
11:07
[ball thumps]
11:08
[groans] Okay.
11:10
[ball thumps]
11:10
[groans in frustration]
11:13
[ball thumps]
11:14
[ball thumps]
11:15
Oh! Get in!
11:18
This video series is gonna slowly make me hate myself.
11:21
[ball thumps]
11:23
That was it.
11:24
That was the one to end on,
11:26
and damn [mumbles] ruined the video.
11:31
All right. That's it.
11:32
Last day of practice.
11:34
Last one didn't go in, but it almost went in,
11:37
so my confidence is high.
11:38
Think it's a good note to end on.
11:40
Monday, we'll see what happens.
11:43
[electronic music]
11:46
We've arrived in Harrison, New Jersey at Red Bull's Arena.
11:48
And today's the day. Final showdown.
11:51
[motivational electronic music]
11:52
My confidence could be higher, but Daniel taught me
11:55
a lot of good things to put on my checklist, so.
11:58
I'm just gonna try to run through those,
12:00
and do my best.
12:03
[motivational electronic music]
12:06
The chance of me hitting one free kick,
12:08
which is what would likely happen in a game,
12:11
is pretty much zero.
12:12
So I'm gonna take 11 kicks,
12:14
one for each player on the field,
12:16
and hopefully something crazy happens and one goes in.
12:20
So for this challenge, I need a wall.
12:21
I'm not gonna shoot on dummies.
12:22
So I've invited three friends, one enemy.
12:30
I'm gonna go kick ass now I guess.
12:34
So my opponent for this challenge is Ryan Meara,
12:37
who plays goalkeeper for the new York Red Bulls.
12:39
[tribal drums]
12:41
So you're taller than I hoped.
12:43
Yep.
12:44
You know, I played keeper actually, back in the day.
12:45
Oh yeah?
12:46
So I never necessarily thought that
12:48
I could make a free kick,
12:49
but I've always sort of wondered,
12:50
if I had some minimal training, could I do that?
12:53
So that's what we're gonna try to do today.
12:54
All right let's do it.
12:55
So we're gonna do 11 kicks,
12:56
one for each player on the field.
12:58
All right, so I gotta go 11 for 11. All saves.
13:02
And I just have to go one for 11.
13:03
Yeah, I don't know why you agreed to this.
13:03
Pressure's on me.
13:05
Bad deal for you.
13:06
[tribal drums]
13:06
When I worked with Danny, he gave me a distance.
13:08
I think it was about 21, 22 yards,
13:09
from which I'll be shooting.
13:10
[tribal drums]
13:11
Wish me luck.
13:14
Shot number one!
13:16
Good, Ryan?
13:18
[ball thumps]
13:19
Oh!
13:22
[ball thumps]
13:23
Oh! [laughs]
13:27
[ball thumps]
13:36
[ball thumps]
13:36
Ah!
13:39
Shot five.
13:41
[ball thumps]
13:43
Oh!
13:45
[groans]
13:47
That was the one!
13:51
[ball thumps]
13:53
That was a waste of a shot.
13:56
Shot seven.
13:59
[ball thumps]
14:00
Ah!
14:05
[ball thumps]
14:06
Oh!
14:08
You good?
14:10
My bad.
14:11
All right, I got three shots left.
14:13
One of those felt really good.
14:15
I'm not sure how close it actually was,
14:16
but I'm just gonna keep trying to do that.
14:18
Bend it around the wall.
14:19
[dramatic music]
14:22
Shot nine.
14:23
You good, Ryan?
14:25
[dramatic music]
14:31
[ball thumps]
14:32
Oh!
14:35
[screaming]
14:38
I can't believe I actually made that shot.
14:39
It felt fucking awesome.
14:44
In Ryan's defense, I wouldn't have expected that either.
14:48
I just concentrated on what Danny told me,
14:50
what Alex and Anton told me.
14:52
The big thing was just not trying to hit it too hard,
14:54
and just making sure I sort of whipped my leg around.
14:59
What happened there?
15:02
It was a textbook free kick, you know.
15:03
I think sometimes you guys try to come up
15:06
and hit it so hard, when it's more about placement.
15:08
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
15:09
'Cause I'm sure Danny was telling you last week.
15:10
Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
15:11
You just get it up and over the wall,
15:12
but down under the crossbar.
15:15
My hat's off to you.
15:16
It's well done.
15:17
Thank you. All the credit goes to Danny and your wall.
15:20
Who didn't jump at all or try to help you.
15:22
They are my friends so it's a little bit of a disadvantage.
15:25
No, all good.
15:26
Well thank you, I appreciate you.
15:27
You got it.
15:28
I can't believe I made that shot.
15:29
That was pretty unbelievable.
15:30
I will say, I feel like I improved over
15:31
the course of the training.
15:32
And the whole point of this challenge
15:33
is to figure out, can an average Joe like me
15:35
perform a professional feat,
15:38
and one out of 11 tries, I guess I can.
15:42
Do I think I'm an MLS all-star?
15:45
No, probably not, but I at least have the gear,
15:48
and I am an above-average Joe.
15:50
I can sleep at night knowing that.
15:52
And my mom is finally proud of me.
15:57
[beep]
15:57
There's one thing I regret, which is I didn't think
16:00
I was gonna make it, so I had no celebration.
16:03
[screaming]
16:05
Ah!
16:08
Next time, I will have a celebration.
16:11
I promise.