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FC Seoul to Hire Sports Psychologist

Posted May. 10, 2007 08:18,   


“If the team suffers a series of defeats, sports psychologists have interviews with players. They then inform the coaching manager of the interview results. All the complaints players had completely disappear the next day. Of course, players perform better,” said Seo Jung-won, who is now playing for Austria’s SV Ried, in an interview with a reporter last July during the Germany World Cup.

Though Austria is not a center for European soccer, according to Seo, Austria is as good as England’s Premier League in terms of sports science. This means that Austria exhaustively manages its soccer players based on sports science, including exercise physiology, dynamics, and psychology.

In Europe, a manager never manages players by himself. Experts in each area help manage players. European clubs usually have sports psychologists, technology analysts, and several coaching staffs.

In Europe, a person in charge of a team is called a “manager.” A manager first delegates all the matters necessary for reinforcing the team’s strength to coaching staff members and makes a final decision using data analyzed by them. The power of European soccer comes from this kind of system. For this reason, Europe’s prestigious clubs, such as Manchester United, have close to 10 staff members.

On the contrary, in Korea, a manager deals with all the matters, ranging from training to deploying players. Under these circumstances, Korean teams inevitably have many problems. Korean clubs often fail to have a through grasp of their problems and blame players for their poor performances.

Earlier this year, FC Seoul, which appointed Turkish manager Senol Gunes as its manager, is planning to bring in a sports psychologist for the first time in Korea. FC Seoul wants to maximize its strength by boosting players’ morale and resolving subtle tensions within the team.

FC Seoul’s efforts to reform are breathing new energy into the development of the K-league.