I saw a situation while watching WPS this past weekend that got me thinking. A shot came in to the keeper who caught it and stumbled backwards towards the mouth of the goal. She caught herself on the goal post and was successful with the save. Here is my question, what if she had not been stopped by the goalpost, but my a teammate? I know a player cannot use a teammate to boost themselves up, for example in a header, and that this can be considered unsporting behavior. What about a stumbling goalkeeper with ball in hand falling back towards the goal? Would you allow this? Unsporting behavior with a caution and IFK according the special circumstances for IFK offenses inside the goal area? I would assume one could make a case for DOGSO, but good luck with that (arguing the 4 D’s would be difficult.) I appreciate your response. Thanks.

USSF answer (August 11, 2009):

This is one of those issues that has been much debated and, while there is no significant conceptual difference between a teammate propping up the goalkeeper to prevent her from falling back — not misconduct — into the goal (thus causing a goal) and a player lifting a teammate up to enable her to head the ball — the latter being clearly a misconduct — we would hesitate to make an ironclad ruling on this.

All of this makes for an interesting discussion, but the long and short of it is that it would be difficult to sell the notion that the teammate had prevented an obvious goalscoring opportunity under any circumstances — if the ‘keeper had the ball in her possession, there was no chance for the attacking team to play the ball. It would also be difficult to caution the teammate for unsporting behavior, unless the act was so blatant that it could not be denied. Apply The Seven Magic Words: “If, in the opinion of the referee, . . ..”

Now, if that teammate lifted up the ‘keeper so that she could control the ball . . .

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