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Jung Jo-kook Has Ambition About K-League Rookie of the Year Award

Jung Jo-kook Has Ambition About K-League Rookie of the Year Award

Posted November. 18, 2003 23:03,   


“I can’t concede the rookie of the year award which I can only get once in a lifetime.”

“Patriot Missile” Jung Jo-kook (19 years old, Anyang LG) announced regarding the competition over the Rookie of the Year award for the 2003 Samsung Hauzen K-League.

“Special Class Rookie” Jung Jo-kook, who jumped to the professional world after graduating from Daeshin High School this year, had the best statistics among rookies with 12 goals and one assist. However, no matter if he performed well, if his team’s results are not good, then his performance will not be noticed.

It may be difficult for Jung Jo-kook to receive the award because his team is in eighth place (game points 56, 14 wins, 14 draws, 16 losses). The other strong contender, Choi Sung-kook (20 years old, Ulsan Hyundai), who has worse statistics with 7 goals and one assist, did play a major role in Ulsan’s good play at the beginning of the season to help the team finish in second place (game points 73, 20 wins, 13 draws, 11 losses). In these circumstances, it is not assured Jung will win the rookie of the year award.

Jung Jo-kook throws down the gloves at Choi Sung-kook who will battle together in the 2003 World Youth Soccer Championship, held in the United Arab Emirates on November 28. Prior to the start of the ambitious trip, Jung Jo-kook even made an “e-mail Rookie of the Year award publicity campaign” to soccer reporters at the airport on November 17.

Jung Jo-kook promised good news with plenty of goals, saying, “I am going to the United Arab Emirates to make a ‘semifinals miracle,’ which older players had achieved in the 1983 Mexico competition.” He compared himself with “rival” Choi Sung-kook in the e-mail to attract public attention. The content of the email reveals that he had thought impetuously when Choi scored to make a long drive, taking advantage of the victory at the beginning of the season, but once he stopped to grasp the situation and focus on his own performance, he scored considerably more than Choi. Driving without a stop, he disclosed his resolution that he will make his dream of winning both the MVP and the Highest Scorer awards next year. Also, he said that he wants to be the 2006 World Cup national representative player as the hope of Korean soccer.

Even though he did not directly ask to be picked as Rookie of the Year in his e-mail, there was a strong challenging will towards it. Jung Jo-kook showed us a magnificent performance at the Asia Championship and at several evaluation matches, scoring 15 goals, ever since the Korea Youth National Soccer Team was organized.

The Korea professional soccer association is planning to vote for the Rookie of the Year award by ballot with the soccer reporters as voters in the middle of December. If Jung shows a good performance in the World Youth Soccer Championship, it can be the “Rookie of the Year Premium.” Can Jung’s “outside the ground competition” succeed?

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com