Picking up where they left off after last season’s NCAA tournament run, St. Olaf men’s soccer is currently undefeated in con- ference play with an overall record of 4-2-4 after a four-week stretch without a single loss. Goalkeeper Ben Braman ’17 has been crucial to the Oles’ recent success, posting a .871 save percentage, second best in the conference. He is currently tied for the third fewest goals allowed in the MIAC and that superb defense keeps matches close – always providing St. Olaf an opportunity to win.
Q: What is your mental approach towards goalkeeping? What’s going through your mind when an opponent is about to attempt a shot on you?
A: With goalkeeping I need to have a short- term memory. Any mistakes I make really stand out in open play, especially when I let a goal in. But the beauty of goalkeeping is the ability to put those mistakes behind me and make up for them during the rest of the
game. When it comes to shot-stopping, most of it is anticipation. As he’s winding up I’m thinking about where the ball is, what foot he’s shooting with, my position in the goal, etc. Ultimately, it comes down to reactions. I don’t care how I do it. As long as that ball doesn’t go in the net, I’m happy.
Q: Now that you’re a senior, how have you embraced your role as a veteran and lead- er? What advice would you give to aspiring goalkeepers?
A: In a way, it’s an unspoken style of leading. When the rubber hits the road, us seniors know that we’ve been here before and have the motivation and desire to get the job done. The advice I’d give to aspiring goalkeepers is that no matter how hard you train, you need to continue to ask yourself if you love goalkeeping. The best keepers in the world are the ones who profess their love for the game and I try to model my game after them.
Q: What role models inspire you to keep improving on and off the field? What lessons have you learned from them?
A: My family raised me to be the best person and goalkeeper I could be, no matter the score. It was never about wins and losses. Instead it was about improving my skill and fostering my love for soccer. Without their support, I don’t know where I’d be.