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I’M Determined I Won’T Let This Injury Defeat Me Insists Ex-Dundee Keeper Soapy


JoeCovenant

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Source: The Evening Telegraph

What he thought was no more than a training knock eventually led to keeper Derek Soutar being forced ‘to quit’ at just 33.

And, two years on from his last senior game with Forfar, he’s revealed he’s still battling what’s become an agonising shoulder problem. As he sets his sights on returning to the game as a coach, the former Dundee, Aberdeen and Ross County stopper remains determined it’s something he’ll overcome.

“Soapy†picked up the injury during a shooting drill with the Sky Blues. At the time it didn’t feel like anything serious but it finally forced him to announce his retirement earlier this season.

“It was in training and, although the pain was bad, it didn’t seem like I’d done any real damage,†he said. “I felt a pop but not much more. It was only a while after as my shoulder began to get worse that I had to go and get it seen to. They discovered not only had I dislocated the shoulder but I’d torn muscles and the ligament had come off the bone.

“I had to get an operation and have four pins put in to hold it in place. I tried to come back afterwards but it was still giving me problems and that’s why I had to give up playing. Even then, the pain and movement has got worse again, so I’ve ended up going back to see a specialist.

“He says the trouble now is with scar tissue inside the joint, so I’ve to do three months of physio to try to sort it. If that doesn’t work, it will mean another operation. It’s crazy to think something that didn’t seem too bad is still an issue.â€

As well as dealing with the knowledge he’s had to retire at an age when many goalies are at their peak, it’s meant he’s had to battle through the pain barrier as he pursues his dream of a coaching role back at a senior club.

For a few years now he’s run his own successful coaching school and helped several players secure deals in the senior game. On top of that, Soapy’s done some work with Forfar’s young keepers as well as, more recently, the kids at Dundee United.

“I am working in the oil industry now and really enjoying that but I want to stay involved in the game. My coaching school means I can do that and it’s been great experience to work with the kids at Forfar and United. Ideally, what I’d love is a job with a part-time club — but I want to get my shoulder sorted once and for all.

“In terms of doing the work, I can get by. But I want it fixed so I can take part in the sessions and show the kids what I want from them by doing it myself rather than getting someone to demonstrate.â€

And, like so many other footballers, he admits adjusting to not playing on a Saturday afternoon has been hard.

“I think if I was an outfield player I’d be saying I had a good kick at it — but at 33 I expected to have anything up to another seven years playing. You look at Big Rab (Douglas) and he’s still doing a great job for Forfar at 42. Tony Bullock was still playing at 40 and you look around the game and you see plenty keepers going strong at 37 or 38.

“I know I’m never going to play every week again but I’m hoping once I get this sorted, as well as coaching, I could be back-up at a club. That’s why I’m not going to let this beat me.â€

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