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Korean Soccer: Kim Doo-Hyun Is Ready for the Nationals

Posted January. 06, 2005 22:42,   


Somewhat blurry pupils, a naive looking expression and a mediocre stature of 175cm and 66kg. These were the features of the 23-year-old Kim Doo-hyun who we met at the headquarters of the pro soccer team Suwon Samsung on January 5, two days prior to the national team summons.

The midfielder position which he is competing for with rivals for the starter spot is swarming with competitors such as "Sweeper" Kim Nam-il (Chunnam Dragons), who came back from current injury, ex-Olympic team member, Kim Jung-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), and the experienced Kim Sang-shik (Sungnam IlHwa).

But like the old saying, the true winner hides its surface. Kim commented "There are players who express their desire for victory on the surface and those who don`t. I fit in the latter category. And if you question me about rivalries, I have to say it’s myself. Opportunity is endowed to whoever is ready and I am confident."

His face turned hard when he concentrated his eyes. When questioned about his confidence towards the intensive physical testing head coach Johannes Bonfrere planned to hold at the field training center in the United States, Kim smiled and said " I was the runner-up in the physical strength test for the national team two years ago."

Kim, who joined Suwon Samsung in 2001 as a Tongjin high school graduate, spent the golden peak of his career last year as a four-year veteran. Kim set a milestone in Korean soccer to lead the Olympic team to the quarter-finals in Athens and helped the team win a 2-0 victory against Maldives with a precious mid-field game-deciding goal in the World Cup Asian Region second preliminary round match up. Also, Kim`s team seized championships in the K-league and he was selected as a "Best 11" player in the K League.

Kim counted aggressiveness as a factor behind his improvement. As an example, he told an anecdote of when he recklessly visited a youth soccer team early in the morning even before entering elementary school. In his elementary school years, he nagged his parents to transfer to a school that had a soccer team and became a player after a tryout. Kim also mentioned the 200 accumulated A4 papers on which he used to jot down notes regarding his evaluation and his soccer perspectives after every training session or match. It was this that began to convince us that his evaluation that he possessed a deep understanding of the game was correct.

Kim commented, "In preparation for the national team tryouts which will start soon, one out of every two players will drop out. I will claim a starting position by exerting all my efforts."

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com