Film Club: ‘The Lonely Goalkeeper’

Film Club: ‘The Lonely Goalkeeper’

Students in U.S. high schools can get free digital access to The New York Times until Sept. 2021.

The Lonely Goalkeeper” is a four-minute film that touches on themes of competition, fear and self-belief. It profiles the British soccer legend Bob Wilson as he reflects on the “desperate courage” required to be a goalie.

What makes you feel most alone? Have you ever felt alone when you were with others? Are you surprised that a professional athlete would describe their job as lonely?

What gives you strength to withstand feelings of loneliness?


1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.

2. After watching, think about these questions:

  • What questions do you still have?

  • What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?

3. An additional challenge | Respond to the essential question at the top of this post: Have you ever felt all alone — even when you were with others?

4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)

5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.

6. To learn more, read “There Is No Lonelier Job in Soccer Than This.” Andre Andreev, the filmmaker, writes:

Is there any lonelier position in sports than goalie?

In the film above, the legendary goalkeeper Bob Wilson reflects on the “desperate courage” required to serve as the last resort against an onslaught of unpredictable shots from his opponents. Originally a teacher who played as an amateur, Wilson moved up to professional soccer later than his peers — but spent 1963 to 1974 playing for Arsenal, a storied club in the English Premier League. In 1971, Arsenal honored him with player of the year following the historic season when it won both the league title and the FA Cup. He ranks among their 50 greatest players.

As Premier League clubs compete in empty stadiums this summer after a 100-day pause, Wilson’s memories take on new resonance. They remind us that even though their work is often undersung, those on the last line of defense can be the greatest heroes of all.


See all the films in this series.

Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.