Zeljko Kalac pushing SAP goalkeepers to the limit


Football NSW?s newest player development pathway program SAP, also known as the ?Skills Acquisition Program? recently kicked off in Sydney under the watchful eye of former Socceroos skipper and Football NSW Technical Director Alex Tobin.
Tobin appointed a number of former ex-Australian senior and youth internationals with Kalac being ably equipped to be the Technical Coordinator for the SAP Goalkeeper program.
?My passion for the game still burns bright and wanting to see young keepers achieve their goals, dreams and aspirations in developing as future stars is why I am here at Football NSW.
?I really want to educate these young keepers in the hope of them being the best they can be and furthering their careers as footballers.
?The SAP program is a perfect pathway for goalkeepers to succeed and to realise their dreams.?
Kalac preached that the most important aspect in the development of goalkeeper is technique.
?For me the biggest aspect of what a young keeper needs to develop is technique.
?It?s a must in laying the foundations for a good keeper in the future and I am happy to be there teaching it to these young 10, 11 and 12 year olds who previously did not have this opportunity.?
Assisting the former Socceroo keeper with the SAP Program for keepers are two other respected coaches in Trinity Allen and Davide Del Giovine who is also Kalac?s goalkeeper assistant at Sydney FC.
?I am happy knowing that I have two guys in Trinity and Davide who both have great ability that can do the job needed.
?It certainly makes things run smoother and easier at training sessions and takes a heap of pressure off me.?
The best aspect of SAP?s goalkeeper program is the fact that these young keepers are exposed to two days a week training under the eye of one of Australia?s best shotstoppers.
?The key here is that we train the keepers twice a week.
?At the age of 10, 11 and 12, kids are able to absorb information like sponges.
?Similar to a young footballer developing, you get to a kid early enough in his progression stages and teach him the basics, the platform and foundation will certainly be set for him.?
The 6 foot 7 giant has certainly ranked amongst one of Australia?s finest exports since his early beginnings with Luddenham in the Nepean Association some years ago.
Kalac was part of the NSL and played several seasons with Sydney United before signing with English club Leicester City in 1995. He spent a year there before moving onto Dutch side Roda JC before switching to Italy where he was snapped up by Serie A outfit Perugia.
After spending three seasons there, world football giants AC Milan recruited the Australian as he spent five glorious seasons there before winding up his final days with Greek First Division side Kavala where he announced his retirement from football.
Away from his club football, Kalac was capped 54 times with the Socceroos and was part of the 2006 World Cup squad in Germany.
With so many influences in his career as a footballer, Kalac stated that two stuck out during his time as a professional footballer.
?During my early days I would have to say that Ron Corry was a massive influence to me.
?He helped me in my development stages as a keeper and it was under him I learned my trade.
?My second influence during my professional career was AC Milan?s goalkeeper coach Villiam Vecchi.
?He taught so many keepers with the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Dida just some of the many that talented guys that came under his tutelage.?
Kalac?s vision, passion and wisdom in the game is certainly an invaluable asset towards further developing SAP?s future goalkeeper stars so rest assured the next crop of shotstoppers are definitely in good hands.
-By Mark Stavroulakis