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Coach Verbeek Is Part Korean at Heart

Posted August. 11, 2006 04:41,   


Pim Verbeek is the fourth Korean soccer team coach from the Netherlands after Guus Hiddink, Johannes Bonfrere, and Dick Advocaat.

After staying with Verbeek for years, his personal physician Kim Hyun-chul says of him, “Verbeek isn’t like the other Dutchmen. He’s very Korean.”

So what are Netherlanders like? Former Korean soccer team coach Hiddink once replied, “Netherlanders are different. If a Dutchman was in a body cast and he saw a coin on the floor, he would throw himself and catch it between his teeth, that’s what a Dutchman would do.”

The Netherlands was able to recover its underwater land mass through excruciating reclamation, and to beat the competition, is engaged actively in trade and commerce internationally. Dutch soccer is just as fierce, coining the phrase, “total soccer.” The Korean team staff says that Verbeek is the only coach who pays for the coffee bill. The others before him always went “Dutch.”

Through much effort, Verbeek has succeeded in becoming Korean.

Spokesperson Lee Won-jae says, “Hiddink and other former coaches didn’t really understand the Korean hierarchical relationship between seniors and juniors, and got upset frequently. Verbeek used to convince him that it was the Korean way.”

Team manager Jeon Han-jin remarked, “The coaches before said exactly what was on their minds, whereas Verbeek is a little more considerate.” If there is a request to be made to the federation or the players, Verbeek will cautiously wait for the right time.

Interpreter Park Il-gi says, “Verbeek takes care of all the little details beyond just soccer. He even checks out how the players are living through his network of acquaintances.” Verbeek’s favorite foods are kimchi stew and bibimbab, he doesn’t like golf, and his idea of a hobby is lounge around with a good DVD.

But Verbeek’s Dutch side makes him, according to Park, “Very direct, he doesn’t double-talk.”

With such a thorough understanding of the Korean culture and all the merits of a Dutchman combined, Korean soccer is looking brighter than it has been in a long time. Verbeek’s mission is to put Korean soccer on par with other soccer superpowers.