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International Goalkeeper Day: Jorge Campos

Jorge Campos could not only stop goals, but could score them as well

Mexican star goalkeeper Jorge Campos sal Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Today is International Goalkeeper Day, and what better way to celebrate than by dedicating it to one of the greatest and most interesting Mexican keepers ever. What makes this specific keeper so interesting is the fact that he did not only play inside his own 6-yard box, but he played as a striker as well. It was indeed a very rare situation to witness back in the 90s when Campos was at his highest level, which makes it pretty much near impossible that we ever see another case like that again, especially when we consider how every position gets more specific and coaches want their players to specialize in a certain area increasingly as time goes on.

Jorge Campos is most famously known as a Pumas UNAM player. It is where he began his playing career and would win his first professional title in the 1990-91 season, and after leaving the first time in 1995, would ultimately return for two more spells at the club. He would bounce around the league with teams such as Atlante (where he scored his most famous “tijerita” goal), Cruz Azul, Puebla, Tigres, and played in the MLS as well, with LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire. It became a habit to see him start games as a keeper, and eventually change his jersey to move up as a striker in the second half.

Not to mention his widely successful career in the Seleccion Mexicana. He won 3 titles (Copa de Oro 1993 and 1996) and the famous Copa Confederaciones in 1999, defeating Brazil for the championship. He was also part of three World Cup rosters; in 1994 and 1998 as the starter, and in 2002 as the backup toward the end of his career. But for the entire 90s decade, he was the undoubted starter for el Tricolor and was essential to the team, having played in 129 games (126 as a goalkeeper, 3 as a striker).

Portugal v Mexico: Group A - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

If his goalie/striker situation isn’t rare enough, his height makes it even more difficult to comprehend. “El Brody” stands at 5 ft, 6 in. (1.68 m). Hardly do you see a keeper of that stature, thanks to the position’s nature, as he must have the height to compete for balls in the air, and taller keepers have more body length as well, which helps a ton when flying in the air to try and deflect a shot on goal. He was still able to make up for that disadvantage with his great reaction skills and amazing jumping ability, which of course, also helped him as a striker.

He was no doubt a better keeper than he was a striker. But when you look closely at the goals he scored, he was no slouch for a striker. One must have a certain degree of talent and ability with the ball to score the kind of goals he did; he scored goals with his head, he scored by arching the ball over the keeper, he could one touch the ball past the keeper, and could even shoot from the penalty spot effectively. And the cherry on top is his amazing “tijerita” goal with Atlante, an absolute masterpiece. He ended up scoring over 40 goals in his career.

Other than René Higuita (Colombian goalkeeper), who was a spectacular player but only played as keeper, it is hard to think of another goal stopper who made these kinds of headlines for his style of play and his ability to be successful at another position no less. The now TV Azteca “analyst” was definitely a one of a kind player, and it will indeed be very difficult to ever see a goalkeeper accomplish something like that again.