Online team play was 5-on-5 in FIFA 08, then 10-vs.-10 for a couple of years. This year the game will support true 11-vs.-11 matches - that means you finally get to play as the goalkeeper.

EA Sports confirmed the goalkeeper position and 22-player support in a statement from Gamescom 2010 earlier this morning. What's more, keepers will be available for the first time in "Be a Pro," the game's singleplayer career mode.

EA Sports' news release says "Be A Goalkeeper" will involve three difficulty levels that provide varying degrees of assistance - "assisted, semi-assisted, and fully manual."

"Experience the thrill of the one on one battle, making the great save from a free kick, punching balls safely out of danger, the pressure of the corner, and most importantly, keeping a clean sheet," the statement says. Goalkeepers will be available both in Be A Pro (Be A Keeper) and Virtual Pro 2.0, the persistent career mode that inserts and your created player across all game modes.

To pitch the new goalkeeper capabilities, EA Sports inked a deal with the Chelsea FC and Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Čech. So be prepared to see more of him.


Additionally, the demo's drop date was given; it is Sept. 15 for the PS3, Sept. 16 for the Xbox 360 and PC. The demo will include six teams: Barcelona, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Bayern Lverkusen, Lyon, and NY Red Bulls.

Speaking as the idiot American, I do know that goalkeeping is one position in which we're held in some regard worldwide. And perhaps the nature of its play in singleplayer and online modes will make the game more inviting to folks who otherwise have a light exposure to how it flows (i.e., me). Stopping shots also is more common, and commonly expected, than taking or making them as a single attacking player, so there's more of an action focus.

With goalkeepers finally integrated into all game modes, this takes care of all onfield personnel, so I suppose the only further development would be online team play with user officiating. You can look for that by FIFA 0-Never.