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When Julio Ribas took over as Gibraltar National Team Head Coach, he immediately set about challenging his players, the fans and all involved in football in Gibraltar (in any way) to dream. To dream about what our tiny nation could achieve on the football field. Playing with a sense of passion and pride united as a family.

Since then Ribas has overseen Gibraltar’s first two competitive victories in the UEFA Nations League and has been responsible for a huge improvement in the National Team’s performances.

When Ribas arrived, Kyle Goldwin had one international cap to his name – an important one at that, the first time Gibraltar had recorded an international victory on home soil in the 1-0 victory vs Latvia at the Victoria Stadium in March 2018. Since then he has kept a clean sheet away in Armenia and now has 3 wins from 9 games in the Gibraltar goal

Pre Ribas Goldwin had been simply a squad player. Arguably third choice keeper until he made his debut at the age of 29:

“My first call up was in March 2016 in the two home friendlies at the Victoria Stadium. Although I made the squad I was not one of the two keepers chosen for the matchday squads, so I watched on from the stands”.  

Pic: Kyle Goldwin sits in the same seat he did almost five years ago when he was in the Aviva Stadium for Gibraltars Euro 2016 Qualifier

 

Having been all around Europe prior for the best part of two years as a squad player, he seized his chance in March 2018 and has been first choice ever since.

However October 2014 it was all very very different for Goldwin. He was playing in the Gibraltar Second Division at the time and also played FUTSAL where he was the Gibraltar National Futsal team’s stopper.

As Gibraltar took to the field at the Aviva Stadium on 2014. Goldwin had travelled to the Irish capital for the game. Nowhere near the squad then, he had come with his family as a supporter:

“I came with my dad, my uncle and my cousin for a long weekend away to watch Gibraltar in our first ever away competitive international. We sat with all the Gibraltar fans in the away end and had an amazing experience. We were not bothered about the result we were thrilled with the fact that Gibraltar, after so many years, were now able to play official internationals and European Qualifiers.”

Pic: Goldwin right waves his scarf at the Aviva Stadium in 2014

 

But that was not the only feeling he experienced that day in the stadium. A sense of realisation set in that soon turned into a driving ambition. Goldwin firmly believed that he had it in him to be Gibraltar’s Number 1.

“I left the stadium as a proud Gibraltarian fan that day, but deep down inside me I knew what I really wanted was to be out there on the pitch.”

Two years of hard graft turned a Second Division keeper into an international squad player. Then two more years saw Goldwin establish himself as Gibraltar’s Number 1.

“Tomorrow will be surreal. A Dream come true to be honest. It will be tremendously exciting to know that in the space of  just under 5 years I will (hopefully selection pending) get the chance to walk out at the Aviva Stadium, not as a fan but trying to win my 10th international cap, in the very stadium where it sunk in, the stadium I left as a fan telling myself I had the skill and talent to become an international footballer.”

Whatever happens tomorrow, for Gibraltar’s talismanic goalkeeper, the Aviva Stadium will holds a special place in his heart.