Marquette Wire

Shaw brings voice of reason, experience as goalkeepers coach

Goalkeepers+coach+Graham+Shaw+came+over+from+Liverpool%2C+England+to+coach+Marquette%27s+goalies.
Goalkeepers coach Graham Shaw came over from Liverpool, England to coach Marquette's goalies.

Goalkeepers coach Graham Shaw came over from Liverpool, England to coach Marquette's goalies.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Goalkeepers coach Graham Shaw came over from Liverpool, England to coach Marquette's goalies.

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Measuring in at 6-foot 6, Graham Shaw literally stands out from the crowd, especially compared to the rest of the men’s soccer coaching staff.

Even for his size, Shaw is a quiet, unassuming man with a perpetually thoughtful expression. As Marquette’s new goalkeepers coach, there’s always plenty to think about.

When head coach Louis Bennett had a chance to bring someone of Shaw’s caliber into the program, it was a no-brainer. Shaw, a Liverpool, England native, held prestigious club positions across the pond, including at the famed Liverpool FC Academy. He  also played for the Tranmere Rovers and the Liverpool Academy where he coached. Most recently, Shaw was at Maryville University, a division II program in St. Louis, before moving to Marquette late last spring.

“Graham brings a lot to the program,” Bennett said. “He really knows the game from a goalkeeper’s perspective and he comes from the school of hard knocks. Any time you have to teach goalkeepers, you have to know goalkeepers, so to understand what they’re really going through, it is a huge boost for us and the players.”

Shaw’s Scouse accent, acquired from his native Liverpool, may have thrown goalies Noah Heim and Luis Barraza off at first. They soon warmed up to him when his intentions became clear: To get the most out of the keepers on a daily basis.

“I like to work on the possession side of the game with the keepers,” Shaw said. “In today’s game, it’s increasingly more important for the keepers to be agile and good with the ball, as well as being able to make those crucial saves.”

Much of Shaw’s work with Heim and Barraza has had more to do with strategy than the mechanics of goalkeeping.

“Noah and Luis are very good when it comes to the technical side,” Shaw continued. “I am working with them on their organization, how they are organizing the back four and midfield, and to always make sure that they are always engaged with the game.”

Marquette has struggled to keep the ball out of the back of the net this season, giving up an average of 2.42 goals per game through four BIG EAST games, the worst in the conference. Despite the struggles, Shaw is hopeful that the the back line and goalkeepers will figure it out soon.

“If you look at the goals, it’s not necessarily been Luis or Noah’s fault,” Shaw said. “They could do a little bit more, but it’s not like it’s a mistake after a mistake. It’s just disappointing from the whole team, we’re giving so many goals and we’re obviously working on it, and hopefully we get it right sooner rather than later.”

Shaw’s style of coaching that he brought from Liverpool is designed to make the goalkeepers work smarter, not harder.

“Goalkeeping training varies from country to country,” Barraza said. “I’ve trained with coaches from Mexico, the U.S., and now England, and his style is definitely a bit different, but it’s a style that really gets the most out of you.”

Barraza already sees Shaw’s different style starting to pay dividends.

“He’s been really helpful as a voice of reason, someone to listen to and who we can talk with, because goalkeeping is such a unique position,” Barraza continued. “He really believes in us, maybe even more so than we believe in ourselves, and it will only help me and Noah to grow as players.”

In spite of the recent troubles that have plagued the keepers, Heim believes Shaw instills unique camaraderie among the group.

“He definitely still tries to bring a bunch of fun to what we do,” Heim said. “We are still working hard even though in between, we may put a ball in between each other’s legs and say ‘Hey, it’s a ‘nutmeg,’ so I think the fun aspect has been key for him and us.”

For Shaw, it was an ideal opportunity to move to a new city and be an impactful coach at a high-level program.

“I think was too good to turn down,” Shaw said. “I wasn’t sure that if I turned it down, a job like this would come up anytime soon, and it’s really been a great experience so far.”

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