Goalies are supposed to stop goals, not score them—right?
But every so often, goalies get the chance to be offensive stars, putting themselves front and center for a highlight goal even as they prevent anyone from scoring on them.
Sometimes, those goals are just flukes. Other times, they're the product of freakishly athletic netminders who can not only stave off attackers but dish out a little pain of their own.
Best of all: They're humble. Goalies don’t usually gloat too much when they score—they are keenly aware of the embarrassment that comes when they let one get by—but the crowd loves them.
Here are 17 of the best, most exciting, and unbelievable goalie goals ever scored:
Tim Howard, Premier League
Talk about power. While playing for Everton in the Premier League, the American star scored this goal against Bolton with one mighty kick from his own box. The "Secretary of Defense" was trying to clear the ball, but it took a single perfect bounce over the opposing keeper's head, giving Everton their first goal of the match.
Martin Brodeur, NHL
The New Jersey Devils legend scored three goals in his career—the most by any goalie—including one against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals. Brodeur was always known as one of the best stickhandling goalies in the league during his career, and on this play he showed why, as he picked up a dump pass, corralled it on the side of his net, and rifled it down the ice for the score.
Peter Schmeichel, Premier League
Schmeichel finished his career with 11 goals across club and country—and not all of them were on long-distance kicks. The “Great Dane” was brilliant at counter-attacking when his team faced a corner kick in a tough situation, like on this header against Rotor Volgograd:
Schmeichel could have had one of the all-time great goalie goals on this overhead kick in the final minute of on FA Cup match for Manchester United—but he was called offside.
Evgeni Nabokov, NHL
The San Jose Sharks goalie became the first goalie to ever score a power play goal in NHL history when he ripped this puck down the ice in the final minute of the game to stave off an attack from the Vancouver Canucks.
Paul Robinson, Premier League
The Tottenham netminder is known for his big leg, and he showed exactly why with this shot against Watford in 2007. Robinson let loose a shot so accurate at opposing goalie Ben Foster that Foster could barely even muster a hand towards the ball before it landed in the net.
Jose Theodore, NHL
Anyone who says that goalies don’t know how to shoot should take that argument up with Jose Theodore. The Canadiens goaltender showed off some impressive skills by flipping a shot backhanded from behind his own net that went in on the other side of the ice. Some offensive players can’t even get a backhanded goal while on the attack, let alone one from their own zone.
Martin Hansen, Dutch Eredivisie
Down 2-1 in the 95th minute with the final seconds ticking away against PSV Eindhoven, ADO Den Haag needed a miracle to earn the draw. So Hansen put the team on his back, working his way into the offensive end and masterfully directing a backheel volley into the net for the score on a free kick. With skills like that, Hansen have been a star striker.
Jimmy Glass, English Division Three
On the final day of the 1998-99 season, Carlisle United had to win to avoid being relegated—but time was running thin. With the score 1-1 and Carlisle setting up for a corner kick, Glass rushed his way up and put the ball into the net with a right-footed shot, sending Carlisle fans into a frenzy as they invaded the pitch to celebrate.
Ron Hextall, NHL
The former Philadelphia Flyers goalie has two goals to his name, including one from the 1989 semifinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals. Hextall had a penchant for trying to score in empty nets—he first accomplished it against the Boston Bruins in 1987—and connected against the Caps a couple years later.
Brad Friedel, Premier League
The American goalkeeper scored on a frantic play at the end of the match between Blackburn and Charlton in 2004 to help tie the game at 2-2 in the 90th minute. But the exuberance after the score was short-lived: Seconds after Friedel put in the ball on a deflected shot, Charlton scored again to win the match, 3-2.
Billy Smith, NHL
Smith—who helped lead the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s—was the first goalie to be credited with a goal in NHL history. There's just one problem: Technically, he didn’t score it. Smith got the credit for the goal since he was the last player to touch the puck after Colorado’s Rob Ramage tried to pass it back towards the blue line—but the puck sailed all the way down into the net for the historic goal.
Ali Ahamada, Ligue 1
Goalies are best known for using their hands, but Ahamada showed off what a keeper could accomplish by using his head. The Toulouse goalie exhibited some preternatural body control as he maneuvered himself backwards off of a free kick, heading the ball in for a score against Stade Rennais.
Blaze Riorden, NCAA Lacrosse
Sometimes goalies just need to take things into their own hands. Albany netminder Blaze Riorden did just that, going coast-to-coast for the score in the NCAA Tournament against Cornell. The beefy, 210-pound stopper showed off some strong agility as he made his way down the field, pulling off a ridiculous 360-degree spin to bounce away from defenders before putting a shot in for the score.
José Luis Chilavert, International Soccer
The Paraguayan star had quite a few goals during his professional career—he scored over 60 during his playing days—but he also got things done in international competition. The former IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper award winner used his strong boot to put in a free kick against rival Argentina in 1996.
C.J. Hart, High School Lacrosse
Even though this was in a spring scrimmage, the goal by Hart is very impressive—it was the lone goal in a 1-0 win for Reading against Longfellow in Massachusetts. The buzzer-beater shot went the length of the entire field and slipped into the net just over the opposing goalie’s stick.
Kevin Benzing, NCAA Lacrosse
The Quinnipiac University goalkeeper took a pass from his teammate and just let it rip, sending the ball all the way down the field for a shocking goal. The Robert Morris University goalie had no idea the shot was coming—he wasn't anywhere near the goal by the time the shot went in.
Evan Hutras, High School Lacrosse
The Ohio high school goalie showed off some incredible athleticism as he pulled a spin move to get away from attackers before heaving the ball downfield. The arcing shot bounces in ahead of the opposing goalie and trickles into the net as Hutras and his teammates celebrated the 80-yard score.