Go to contents

Professional Soccer Teams Eye Park Joo-young

Posted October. 13, 2004 23:17,   


A Korea University striker, Park Joo-young, the biggest star of the 2004 AFC U-19 Asian Youth Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has become the center of attention of a number of professional soccer teams. Park hugely contributed to the Korean youth team’s 11th championship title. He earned the top scorer prize with six goals and was named the Emirates Player of the Tournament.

After Park entered Korea University right after graduating from high school, it seemed that professional soccer teams gave up on acquiring him anytime soon. However, after Korea’s triumph in the Asian Youth Championship, the competition for Park got fierce again. The front-runners are: FC Seoul, Ulsan Hyundai, and the Pohang Steelers. Except for a few teams like the Daejeon Citizens, FC Daegu, and Gwangju Sangmu, all teams are turning an eye towards this promising young player.

FC Seoul has been the most aggressive in its quest for Park. It has constructed an artificial turf field worth 610 million won at Korea University. Pohang claims rights over Park for providing a scholarship for his stay in Brazil for a year. Ulsan, who has been successful in acquiring top Korea University players like Lee Chun-soo and Choi Sung-kook, hopes to nail down a contract with Park as well.

Cho Min-kook, the head coach of the Korea University soccer team, said that because LG has given a lot of aid to Korea University, the school might consider sending Park to FC Seoul. The fact that Euh Yoon-dae, the president of Korea University, and the president of the LG Sports, Euh Yoon-tae, are closely acquainted leads many people to think that FC Seoul has the edge over other teams.

However, nothing is certain yet. Park and his mother have not thought about turning professional soon because he has just entered the university this year. Lee Gi-cheol, president of Park’s agency, “Sports House,” said that going to the professional league can only happen when the player and the school reach an agreement, and when all relevant factors are favorable. Park could consider going overseas as well, Lee said.

Cho Min-kook said that Park’s turning professional could be considered only after the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 is concluded in June 2005. As Korea University thinks it pushed former Korea University players Lee Chun-soo and Choi Sung-kook to the professional league too early, it might not agree to send Park to the professional league hastily.

Citing Park’s game-winning goal in the final match of the Asian Youth Championship against China, FIFA allotted a fair part of an article to Park on its homepage (www.fifa.com). In the FIFA World Youth Championship to be held in the Netherlands in 2005, “All eyes will be on Park Joo-young next June after his impressive performances,” reported FIFA.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com