Q&A with Kieran McCarthy, PDA Harkes U19 Boys goalkeeper
BOYDS, Md. – Even after taking a hard collision midway through the first half of the U19 men’s final at the US Youth Soccer National Championships, PDA goalkeeper Kieran McCarthy stayed in the game and churned out a solid performance. Despite losing the title match 1-0 to Concorde Fire Elite, he won the golden gloves in the U19 men’s division. McCarthy is transferring from the College of the Holy Cross to Villanova in the fall.
SW: Being a goaltender can be one of the most difficult positions, especially in a game where one goal can decide it. What is it like to be in that situation?
McCarthy: Psychologically, it’s difficult. But you have to be able to depend on the 10 guys in front of you. It’s a matter of staying focused and hoping that you’re there to stop them and that you’ve put yourself in a position where you can [stop the shots].
SW: Midway through that first half, you took a very hard collision. How did you get back up and keep going?
McCarthy: The other guys are out there depending on you, and I was the only keeper who came out to nationals, so I knew I had to keep going for those guys. It’s why we play the game, it’s a physical sport, so you fight through those.
SW: Being 6-foot-6 must give you a big advantage over the other keepers, and really over everyone else on the field.
McCarthy: The other goalie is a fantastic goalie as well. He’s got a much different frame. You change your game accordingly. I’m a bigger guy, so I may hang a little further back and depend more on positioning, because I might not be as quick as some of the other goalies. And the other goalie on the other team is going to have to depend more on his reflexes, athletics, be able to get around, where as I can get a little more power and depend on my size and frame.
SW: You still hung tough after giving up that one goal. How were you able to do that?
McCarthy: It comes with experience. You’ve got to be able to shake off letting in goals. I’ve let in a bunch in my lifetime, and you gotta learn to shake it off. Your main goal as a goalie isn’t always to get a shutout. I mean, everyone would love one every game, but to be sure you give your team your best so they have a shot to win. You can’t just let one goal get you down or else you’re going to let in a bunch more. I’ve heard a lot of coaches say, “It’s not how many a goalie lets in a goal, it’s how they react to it.” So I tried to react as best as I could today.
SW: Where do you see yourself going in the future?
McCarthy: I’m coming from the College of the Holy Cross, and I’m hoping to make a good impact at Villanova next year, and hope to make a last good three years in there and earn a starting spot.