We want to thank Luis Fernando Medina, goalkeeper for the Spanish team for amputees for the time spent answering our questions. Luis has been part of our Ho Soccer family since last year collaborating with us and sharing his experiences with our goalkeeper gloves.
How did you decide to start playing soccer and specifically as a goalkeeper?
I started playing soccer when I was a child, I have always had a passion for the goalkeeper position. As my mother says I chose to be a goalkeeper long before I was born. But with the adversity of life the dream of becoming an elite goalkeeper was almost null in the eyes of most people. For me having a disability in the upper limbs more specifically the lack of 2/3 of the right arm, limited my dream. Even with this extra difficulty, I kept dreaming of one day wearing goalkeeper’s equipment and making my first debut in an official match. I was no different from the others, I always played with my friends and participated in school or neighborhood tournaments. Until in 2014 when I found soccer for amputees and it was when my life changed and brought me to Spain. I am currently a Spanish national goalkeeper for amputees and I have been able to realize the dreams I mentioned earlier, I had the experience of playing in the World Cup last year in Mexico, which was the first time that Spain participated and we managed to be among the 8 best teams in the world, it was an honor to defend these colors.
Have you had to adapt specifically in any way to perform perfectly at the net?
The adaptation that I had to do was to migrate from futsal that was where I practically always played, to start in football 7, which is the official size of the goal in amputee soccer matches. With this change I also had to recreate some fundamentals, which I used to suppress the lack of the hand. However, the greatest adaptation was to learn to defend the net literally with one hand without the help of the other arm, since the rules of soccer for amputees require the immobilization of the arm whose disability exists. In the first few trainings I tried new ways to jump to the right side, just where I do not have the hand to cushion the impact against the ground and I also began to use my legs more frequently to increase my occupation zone for 1 against 1.
What goalkeepers do you admire?
The goalkeepers that I most admire are Ederson from Manchester City, for being on an ascending team since the time of Benfica and now in recent years after working with Guardiola he has evolved a lot with his ball exits and improved the positioning under the net. Ter Stegen also catches my attention for his tranquility and the high level that he plays in each match regardless of the adversary or tournament. Another goalkeeper that I admire is David De Gea who for me is a very safe goalkeeper and over the years has constantly evolved, and he has also managed to arrive at the premier league from a young age and in the Spanish team where he has become a reference for others.
What do you think is the most important quality a goalkeeper should have?
In my point of view there are two very important qualities in a goalkeeper, one is his size and another is having a good perception of the game, because that way he will be able to get ahead in possible plays and reduce the margin of errors.
How do you prepare for a match?
I try to be relaxed just as I´m on a normal day, but I also have my little routines that help me maintain focus and tranquility in the matches, which are:
- Think positive
- Listen to music that reminds me of important moments in my life
- Review the notes and videos that the mister has given me throughout the week, to minimize possible errors.
What model of gloves do you wear?
I am currently using the Eskudo model. But I also have a special affection with the Supremo models that were the ones I used in the World Cup last year.
What advice would you give to a young goalkeeper who was starting to play soccer in your situation?
The advice I can give is always believe in your own dreams and always think positive, never let people tell you that you will not be able to achieve a certain goal, because we are the size of our dreams. You should also keep searching a looking to learn new techniques or improve the ones you already have, because no matter how adverse the situation may be, if you continue to work hard the situation will take a course in your favor.