Olympics: Notes on North Korea’s Roster (USWNT Group Opponent)

On Friday, FIFA published all of the rosters for the Olympic soccer tournaments. Among the new-to-us rosters was that of the USWNT’s final group opponent, North Korea (FIFA.com), who were also in the USA’s group in last year’s Women’s World Cup.  Only 6 players of the players on the official 18-player roster return from last year’s squad. Ten of North Korea’s official players are U-20 age-eligible. Also, two of their alternates are U-20 players and a third alternate is a U-17 player.

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ROSTER NOTES

Returnees (6):
–Choe Mi Gyong (forward; 25 minutes; 2 matches)
–Jon Myong Hwa (midfielder; 248 minutes; 3 matches)
–Kim Chung Sim (midfielder; 50 minutes; 2 matches)
–Kim Myong Gum (midfielder; 0 minutes; 0 matches)
–Kwon Song Hwa (forward; 9 minutes; 1 match)
–Yun Hyon Hi (forward; 147 minutes; 3 matches)

Also, two of the alternates were on last year’s roster: Kim Su Gyong (U-17 midfielder) and Kim Chol Ok (U-20 goalkeeper).

No Jo Yun Mi (No, the Other One): One player not returning is the team’s captain from 2011, midfielder Jo Yun Mi (b. January 5, 1987). However, there is another Jo Yun Mi on the roster, a goalkeeper (b. May 22, 1989). This is not an error, as both Jo’s were on PRK’s qualifying roster (see this box score, www.the-afc.com). The absence of the senior Jo would appear to be another significant blow for this team (CBC.ca profile on the senior Jo Yun Mi), which is already shorthanded due to the doping bans handed out after last year’s WWC.

Ineligible Players From the 2011 WWC – Five players from the 2011 Women’s World Cup, including the team’s then #1 goalkeeper, along with four defenders, are banned from all forms of soccer due to doping-related violation (FIFA.com):
–Ho Un Byol (U-20, defender, started all 3 matches)
–Hong Myong Hui (#1 goalkeeper, started all 3 matches)
–Jong Pok Sim (defender, started 2 matches)
–Ri Un Hyang (defender, started all 3 matches)
–Song Jong Sun (defender, started 2 matches)

The Youngest Roster: 17 of the 18 players on the official roster were born in 1989 or later (U-23), with 10 of those players being eligible for this year’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup (1992 or later birth year). The oldest player, forward Kim Song Hui, will only be 25.42 years-old when the Olympic tournament begins. With an average age of 20.66 years, PRK has the youngest average squad by over 18 months. The next youngest squad is Colombia, which has an average age of 22.34 years. — North Korea also had a young squad at the 2011 WWC, with 11 U-20 players (1991 or later birth year), including 8 U-19 players (1992 or later birth years, i.e., those who would be eligible for this year’s U-20 WWC.)

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TABLE: North Korea’s Roster, By Position

PLAYER           S#  P.  D.O.B.       Age  HT.  CAPS   G   NOTES
JO Yun Mi         1  GK  05/22/1989  23.2  173    14   0  
O Chang Ran      18  GK  09/05/1991  20.9  173    18   0
KIM Myong Gum*    3  DF  11/04/1990  21.7  163    14   0
KIM Nam Hui       2  DF  03/04/1994  18.4  163    10   0   U-20
PONG Son Hwa     14  DF  02/18/1993  19.4  166     9   0   U-20
RI Nam Sil       15  DF  02/13/1994  18.4  168     1   0   U-20
RO Chol Ok        4  DF  01/03/1993  19.6  170     6   0   U-20
YUN Song Mi       5  DF  01/28/1992  20.5  166    20   2   U-20
CHOE Un Ju        6  MF  01/23/1991  21.5  157    14   3
JON Myong Hwa*    8  MF  08/09/1993  19.0  171    24   3   U-20
KIM Chung Sim*   11  MF  11/27/1990  21.7  158    15   2   
KIM Un Hyang     12  MF  08/26/1993  18.9  169     9   2   U-20
O Hui Sun        13  MF  11/22/1993  18.7  160     9   0   U-20
RI Ye Gyong       7  MF  10/26/1989  22.8  163    25   9
CHOE Mi Gyong*    9  FW  01/17/1991  21.5  160    13   4
KIM Song Hui     16  FW  02/23/1987  25.4  163    18   5
KWON Song Hwa*   17  FW  02/05/1992  20.5  167     6   0   U-20
YUN Hyon Hi*     10  FW  09/09/1992  19.9  169    22   6   U-20
--- ALTERNATES ------------------------------------------------
YU Jong Im       19  MF  12/06/1993  18.6  163     6   0   U-20
CHOE Yong Sim    20  DF  10/13/1988  23.8  172    17   0
KIM Su Gyong     21  MF  01/04/1995  17.6  158    15   2   U-17
KIM Chol Ok      22  GK  10/15/1994  17.8  170     0   0   U-20

Cap and Goal numbers are taken from a PDF file made available by FIFA.

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SEE ALSO: Other Olympic Rosters
(in order of release date, most recent first)

  1. Japan
  2. Brazil
  3. New Zealand
  4. Sweden
  5. Colombia
  6. Great Britain
  7. Canada
  8. South Africa
  9. United States
  10. France

For Cameroon’s roster, see FIFA.com.