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Gloves up

In the world of football, one goal can mean the difference between victory and defeat, and sometimes this can lie on the shoulders of one particular player - the goalkeeper. The Modern Day Goalkeeper, a movement led by brothers Shaun, Lee and Mark Robinson, goes against the grain and prioritises mindset over perfect technique. Now, a global phenomenon, the brothers speak to Kate Hewison about the brand, the future and how The Modern Day Goalkeeper is reshaping the game, one save at a time.

In football, the goalkeeper is the only position that has stayed the same since the systematisation of the game.

This is down to the unique nature of their role within the sport.

Tasked with the responsibility of guarding the goal and preventing the opposition from scoring, the goalkeeper’s objective has always been simple – Defend. Block. Save.

But in reality, it’s not that simple.

It’s the strategic thinking, always being absolutely ready, even if you are nowhere near the ball.

And, most importantly, it’s all about mindset.

Enter The Modern Day Goalkeeper.

Led by Sunderland born and bred brothers Lee, Mark and Shaun Robinson, it is on a mission to reinvent what it means to be a goalkeeper.

With a following of more than 4.5 million across social media, a new podcast and successful clothing brand, what started as an idea between brothers is now an international phenomenon, with players travelling the world for one of their training sessions.

“We want to create the modern day goalkeeper.”

The Modern Day Goalkeeper was established in 2016, when Lee, an ex-professional goalkeeper, whose CV includes time at Scottish giant Rangers, was taking time off from football.

Having played across the country for 15 years, he had first-hand experience of what it was like to deal with the pressure of high-intensity sport, and how it can be detrimental to a player’s mental health.

And he was determined to make a change for the goalkeepers of the future.

Lee says: “We wanted to do something that wasn’t coaching but was really helping and giving these goalies everything that I wished I’d had when I played.

“I had no help, no advice, and training wasn’t great.”

Having witnessed Lee’s career from the very beginning, Shaun and Mark were keen to get involved in their brother’s vision.

Shaun says: “We’re goalkeepers too, so we both jumped at the chance to bring in a version of goalkeeping and support the keepers that have been released and struggling in football.”

The role of goalkeeper runs deeper than what it appears on the surface, requiring absolute resilience and focus.

It’s not about being the best catcher, or the tallest person on the team, or even having the best technique. It’s about mindset.

Lee says: “Goalkeeping is like a sport within a sport.

“Your game is 95 per cent in the mind, because you’re not involved in the play, you can’t get involved in the outfield action.

“It’s all about composure and waiting for something to bring you into the game.”

Using their knowledge and experience, Lee, Shaun and Mark work closely with players to ensure they’re improving, growing and learning from their errors.

Through their social media content, podcast, products and training philosophy, The Modern Day Goalkeeper – which holds training sessions from Sunderland to Tenerife – celebrates making mistakes, imperfections and going against the textbook definition of ‘how to be a good goalkeeper’.

Beyond physical training, the brothers’ methodology adopts a wide-ranging perspective on goalkeeping, emphasising the importance of mental health.

Lee adds: “Throughout my career, I probably spent 90 per cent of it depressed and feeling like I was failing or underachieving, so I wanted to do something to support these young lads.

“I think depression is a massive thing – nobody wants to talk about it because they want to be seen to be strong – but it’s a massive thing in football.

“The margin of failing and achieving is very fine. And there’s no support.”

A pivotal element within The Modern Day Goalkeeper’s ethos is recognising errors are in fact stepping stones, rather than roadblocks, and are integral in the journey to becoming a better player.

Lee says: “If a goalie comes to us and makes a mistake, we’d say, ‘That’s good – did you learn from it? What are you going to do better? Get on the pitch and train with us. We’ll help you improve, and you’ll never do it again.’

“It’s a brilliant thing.

“I thought if you make a mistake, you’re not good enough.

“I expected be good at stuff that I’ve never ever practised – it was just so stupid.”

“Because of the way we train, though, it exposes everything.”

Mark adds: “We reframe mistakes as learning opportunities.

“That’s the best way to look at them.”

  • (L-R) Lucy, Shaun, Mark and Lee – The Modern Day Goalkeeper team


Following the success of the brand on social media, the Robinson brothers launched their own line of goalkeeper gloves, which are now used by professionals across the globe.

But for the training glove, it’s not due to their grip or bulkiness, or the fact it can make a goalkeeper’s job easier.

In fact, it is quite the opposite.

After witnessing Lee train for so long, Mark felt inspired to go against the grain when it came to their own products.

He says: “Training was quite mundane for Lee, he wasn’t really engaged.

“One way of making him be ‘in the session’ more, and to make it a bit harder, was to wear some gloves that didn’t have any grip.

“But we didn’t realise the benefits that would give, and we didn’t really find that out until we brought out our own glove and more people around the world were using it.

“It was just basically making training harder, which meant people had to focus more, that they couldn’t be slacking and had to concentrate.”

Contrary to traditional goalkeeping gloves, the brothers’ versions are lightweight and streamlined, with a slippy palm and no-gusset negative cut – which gives the gloves a second skin feeling.

That’s what The Modern Day Goalkeeper is all about; if you can catch a ball with these gloves, you can catch a ball with any.

Shaun says: “It’s basically the opposite of a goalkeeper glove.

“Goalkeeper gloves are meant to be grippy, but these have no grip at all.

“The idea is you train in them, you get used to catching with a glove with no grip, and then when you put your normal gloves back on, you think you’ve got superglue on your hands!

“But then along came other benefits, like improved focus and concentration, and timing of when to apply pressure on the ball.”

Lee adds: “It’s teaches you the perfect way to catch the ball.”

Following the success of the gloves, in 2022 the Robinson brothers took the next step in their business journey and launched VOS, their very own sportswear brand.

Despite their huge success, impressive past and incredible community, the trio are humble, extremely proud of their roots and determined to change an industry for the better.

With their combined understanding of Lee’s goalkeeping, Shaun’s retail experience and Mark’s strength and conditioning, the brothers use their knowledge to help goalkeepers holistically, whether that’s through what they wear, the gloves they use, or how they prioritise their mind and wellbeing in a game.

Through their passion and dedication, the Robinson brothers are not just reimagining what it means to be a goalkeeper; they’re inspiring a new generation and leaving a significant mark on the beautiful game they love.


Listen to The Modern Day Goalkeeper podcast.



TheModernDayGK – Youtube

April 15, 2024

  • Feature

Created by Kate Hewison