HARRISBURG -- The secret is out. Being a goalkeeper in the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) may be one of the most demanding positions in pro sports -- full of action, anxiety and even some danger.
PASL keepers face shots traveling 60 to 80-mph or more, while guarding a goal that's 14-feet wide and 8-feet high.
"To be honest, half the time the ball just hits you," said Heat goalie Dave Kern. "I guarantee you could probably ask any ice hockey keeper, too; it's about putting yourself in the right position."
Hockey goalies have a helmet and pads; Kern wears gloves, long pants -- and that's about it.
CBS 21 News strapped a camera on both Kern and back-up goalie Justin Johnson during a practice to get a feel for what playing the position is really like.
Unlike the outdoor game -- where goalies may not see the ball for 4-5 minutes -- Kern and Johnson are a part of the action almost every 30 seconds.
Keepers also have less than a second to decide where the ball's heading -- or which wall it will bounce off next. "A lot of times, you're not so much worried about trying to catch the ball; rather than just keep it out of the net," added Johnson.
Harrisburg's next game is Saturday at Detroit. The Heat returns home on January 19 to play the Waza at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Goalkeepers live life on the edge; during a game or practice there's plenty of close calls -- and some too close.
In the PASL, they're required to do a little bit of everything on both defense and offense. "They're the last line of defense (and the) first line of offense," said Harrisburg assistant coach Gino DiFlorio. "Because everything starts through them."
The one thing they can't do? Be perfect.
The average keeper in the PASL allows seven goals a game. Kern (2-5) is one of the best, allowing 5.11 in seven games.
Accepting you can't stop everything -- no matter how hard you try -- is what being a goalie is all about in this arena soccer league.
"I told all my nephews, '(If) you're going to play soccer, you have to be a field player,'" said Kern, who attended Misericordia University and also played for the Harrisburg City Islanders from 2004-2007. "'That's who makes all the money.
"You don't make money being a goalie. And you obviously get punished, as well."