Professor of Sports

Q. What chance does a goalkeeper have of saving a soccer penalty kick? – Bob, 12, New Jersey

The Prof Says: Not a very good one. In the 26 penalty shootouts that have decided men’s World Cup soccer gmes, only 49 out of 232 shots have been saved. When you consider the challenge for the goalkeeper, though, that is actually a pretty impressive stat. A full-sized goal offers shooters a target area of 192 square feet., and an average sized keeper takes up around 9.5 square feet of that.

If the keeper stood completely still, and the penalty kicker randomly shot at the goal, only five percent of those balls would be blocked.

(full article published in Sports Illustrated Kids, March 2015)