Although they don’t always receive the recognition of a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, goalkeepers play a major role in any team’s setup. They often make up for many defensive miscues and often times serve as the vocal leader at the back as the player that sees everything across the field.
Zlatko Buzuk, currently Goalkeeper Coach at Eckerd College, has been tasked with leading the goalkeepers at this year’s USL Experience in Tampa, and having had experience both around the youth and college soccer landscape he recognizes the importance of the opportunity for everyone involved.
“I feel that this event is every youth player's dream, especially for those that one day hope to become a professional,” Buzuk told SYLSoccer.com. “To be a part of this tremendous event is a major career accomplishment for myself, so I am very much looking forward to it.”
Coach Z has made it a priority of his to improve the games of young keepers in Florida since moving to the United States from Bosnia back in 2015. Buzuk played professionally for a number of teams in his native country throughout his career before trading in his cleats for a notepad.
Buzuk has plied his trade as a coach at youth club Tampa Bay United on top of his duties at Eckerd, giving him a well-rounded perspective on the development of a player.
For Buzuk, he says sometimes keepers need to put more emphasis on their preparation for matches, especially given that they need to be extremely agile and flexible in their movements.
“I see a lot of kids getting injured on the field,” Buzuk said. “I find the reason for that to be lack of a warm up and muscle activation prior to every session, as well as a proper cool down. Goalkeepers are the ones who have to be the most flexible on the field so I will emphasize that, plus the importance of balance and reaction as a goalkeeper.”
Buzuk plans to utilize USLX as a chance to show off some of the drills that he has employed at the collegiate level, which could go a long way for the players involved when they arrive in Tampa this April.