‘s-Hertogenbosch since 2002 has quite a number of adolescent suspects (18-24 years) as compared to the other larger cities in the province of Brabant. Often, these youngsters are from families having a very weak social structure, in which criminal behaviour is being accepted and aid is not or hardly possible.

Goalkeepers is a crime prevention project in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in which soccer is being used to advance positive behaviour from teenagers. Goalkeepers creates community soccer teams that mirror a real professional soccer club: Barcelona FC. In one aspect Goalkeepers differs from a professional club. The teenagers do not have to be extremely talented to become a member of a team, they are being recruited based on risk factors in their direct social environment.

Keywords: discipline, respect and rules. That means as well sanctions when rules are not being obeyed. The rules do not only apply to activities within the project itself, but to the whole life of the youngsters: in school, in spare time and at home. A soccer player in Goalkeepers lives, just like a professional Barcelona player, in a glass house. Problems at school or in the community are reported by school or by community police to the project leaders of Goalkeepers.

Teenagers get an attractive role and identity, but in return they have to show exemplary behaviour. Practice should show that the youngsters are very proud of the position in their team and thereby show improved behaviour outside the project. The atmosphere in the communities involved should improve and crime figures as well as school dropouts should be reduced to (almost) zero.


Short term ambitions:

  • Timely signaling and a coordinated approach to problems of teenagers
  • Increase in participation and involvement of teenagers, parents, school, inhabitants, local organisations, a.o. to the local community

Medium term ambitions:

  • Development of positive behaviour of youngsters
  • Increase in the number of positive contacts, positive self image, development of talent
  • Developing and learning of social competences
  • Improving of learning of competences like: cooperation, dealing with emotions, organising, sense of responsibilities, dealing with structure, discipline, values and standards
  • Increase in the percentage of teenagers that is active in society and shows active citizenship

Long term ambitions:

  • More integration
  • Higher quality of life in the community
  • Less annoyance and crime
  • Youngster can more easily be approached and corrected

Contact person: Alex Bekkers -


The project started in 2006.
Last review: March 2020.


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