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In soccer, as in many other sports, several changes have been experienced in the game tactics that generated positions over time, as well as others that disappeared. The goalkeeper's is the only position that has prevailed since the creation of the rules of the sport.

The earliest evidence of soccer teams with positions comes from Richard Mulcaster in 1581. However, he did not specify the goalkeepers. The first specific reference to protect the goal comes from hurling cornuales in 1602.

In the original rules, goalkeepers could use their hands to the middle of the field. This was modified in 1912, restricting this possibility to the penalty area, as at present.

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