FIFA won't let North Korea pull goalkeeper switch (and a somewhat related memorable MLS moment)

FIFA won't let North Korea pull goalkeeper switch (and a somewhat related memorable MLS moment)

MLS- New York Red Bulls

FIFA won't let North Korea pull goalkeeper switch (and a somewhat related memorable MLS moment)


From the "So much for that plan" department comes word that the North Korean World Cup team will essentially lose the services of one of its forwards after having been told by FIFA that Kim Myong-won can only play goalkeeper since he was listed as goalkeeper on the official roster.

In an attempt to give the team more attacking options, North Korea head coach Kim Jong-hun named just two goalkeepers on his World Cup team, with forward Kim filling in the third goalkeeper slot. FIFA put that idea to bed when it released a statement making it clear that Kim could only play goalkeeper. The North Koreans can only fix this situation if one of their players gets hurt between now and the start of the tournament.

You have to wonder how U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley feels about North Korea's attempt at goalkeeper trickery. He does know a little about bending rules with the use of goalkeepers.

It was Bradley who, in July of 2003 as New York/New Jersey MetroStars head coach, took advantage of the MLS substitution rules by bringing in midfielder Eddie Gaven as a goalkeeper in overtime of a match he had already used all three regular substitutions (at the time, MLS allowed a fourth substitution for goalkeepers). U.S. World Cup goalkeeper Tim Howard was the MetroStars goalkeeper that day and handed his gloves to Gaven, who stood in net briefly before swapping spots with Howard. Gaven went on to score the match-winning goal that day, prompting MLS to eventually eliminate the fourth substitution for goalkeepers rule.

For those of you who weren't following MLS back then, or for those of you who want to see it again, here are the highlights from that crazy sequence almost seven years ago:

Okay, so Bradley's clever use of the sub rule at that time isn't quite the same as North Korea's clumsy attempt to circumvent the World Cup roster rule, but it gave me an excuse to show a clip from one of the craziest matches I ever covered. It's also crazy to consider that this 2003 MetroStars team had Bradley as coach, Tim Howard in goal and U.S. World Cup teammate Ricardo Clark in midfield (and yes, that's Red Bulls assistant Richie Williams also playing for New York, with a young Nick Rimando in goal for D.C.). Can't believe that was seven years ago. Time does fly.

What do you think of North Korea's attempted roster trickery? Betting that some North Korean player will fall down some steps between now and the start of the tournament? Do you remember the Gaven-Howard goalkeeper switch?

Share your thoughts below.

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