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Coach: Soccer Prep Star Is a Natural

Posted August. 29, 2006 03:03,   


On August 28 at the Gyeonggi Province Paju City National Football Center (NFC), the Korean Youth National Team (U-17) played a practice game with Japan’s Hyogo prefecture’s high school starting team. Korea won big, winning, 7-1, with Joo Sung-hwan scoring two goals.

These are the football players who will participate in the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Korea will host.

One player, who is especially busy running around the field, catches the eye. He has a childlike face, with dark skin and narrow eyes, but the Hyogo Prefecture starting team was blocked at every chance by his defense.

Defensive midfielder Yun Bitgaram (16, Busan Bukyeong high school)-

U-17 team coach Park Gyung-hoon says, “Our team’s merit and weak point is that there is no one outstandingly good, and every one is equally skilled.” But even coach Park thinks, “Bitgaram’s sense for football is inborn. His ability to read the game is good, and conversion between offense and defense is superb.”

Yun was the MVP the Japanese media chose at the Toyota International Youth Football Championship at the beginning of this month.

Most of the attacks began with his footsteps, and the center of defense was where he was. Yun, who scored one goal during the three games, was the motivating power of victory.

According to Park, Yun is the hope of Korea.

“His first touch and kicking skills are outstanding; if he’s well trained, he will become a worldwide star.”

Yun, who passed through Changwon Elementary and Kimhae Middle School, is attending Bukyeong high school and currently receiving guidance from coach Lee Cha-man, former coach of the National team and Busan Daewoo.

Yun’s favorite football player is Zinedine Zidane.

“Zidane’s penalty kick at the Germany World Cup Finals was moving. I hope to become a football player with the ability to lead a match like Zidane.”

The Korean National team leaves for Singapore on August 29 and will participate in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2007 qualifiers, which starts on the third of next month. The four top ranking teams will be given qualifications to participate in the 2007 AFC U-17 Championship. Host country Korea is already qualified for the championship, but the resolution to win against powerful teams such as Iran, Iraq, Japan, and the championship itself has not changed.