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Summon Park Joo-Young

Posted November. 18, 2004 23:03,   


"Where`s that player? The player who went past four defenders and scored a goal in a youth soccer match last month?"

In the 2006 Germany World Cup Asian region 2nd preliminary match up against Maldives, which took place in Seoul World Cup stadium, Sangam Dong, Mapo Gu, Seoul on November 17, one Korean fan in the stands tired of the waiting for a goal until the mid-point of the second half shouted out, "Hey! Call in all the strikers and bring in Park Joo-Young.”

Korea edged the opponent 2-0 in the match and made its way to the final preliminary rounds, but the anger from the fans were still the same. On the internet website for the Korean Football Association on November 18, stacks of comments poured down in the "Fan Zone" bulletin with the following subjects such as "Swap the strikers" and “Call up youth dream Park Joo-Young."

Who is Park Joo-Young (19• Korea University)? He is the Korean dream who clutched the “Triple Crown" as he claimed the titles of scoring king and MVP while scorching six goals in the 2004 Asian Youth Championships last month. Especially, in the final round match against China, Park penetrated to go past four defenders with fascinating dribbles and scored a goal to leave a strong impression, and is dubbed as the "Korean Maradona."

As the Korean national team drew with Lebanon 1-1 in the World Cup Asian region second preliminary round match last month, public opinion supporting substituting Park Joo-Young in the national team sprang up. But Jo Bonfrere shook his head as he put out his opinion, saying, "I know Park Joo-Young is talented, but youth and the nationals are different levels."

Park Joo-Young watched the Maldives game with "Soccer’s Future Talent," Park Joon-Tae (15•Yongin FC), on November 17. Park Joon-Tae is a spotlight player who received scoring king glory as well as championships as he notched eight goals in the Manchester United Premier Cup Youth Soccer league which opened last May. The duo will be responsible for the offensive attacks in Korean soccer.

"I am really eager to play on the national team, but it`s a fact that elder brothers still have better talent that I do."

As no goals had been scored, Park Joo-Young, who had been stamping his feet, threw modest advice to younger player Park Joon-Tae by saying, "The best virtue a striker must possess is not to grasp too much. The striker must be able to pass the ball to a player in a better position."

The hot topic in Korean soccer is the change of generations. Soccer experts agree in that "to create another wonder in the 2006 Germany World Cup, the bold implementation of young players is needed."

Brazil’s "New Soccer King," Ronaldo, England’s "Wonder Boy," Michael Owen, and Wayne Rooney. The common feature for the mentioned strikers is that all had been selected for the national team in their teens. Putting aside that Park Joo-Young is still not yet a mature player, he still is Koreas next-generation striker. We need to take a little risk to improve Korean soccer’s` constitution.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com