Go to contents

How Do Nat`l Soccer Players Spend Their Free Time?

Posted May. 31, 2010 12:31,   


Members of the national soccer team often build up strong friendships while eating and training together for a prolonged period of time. Players often joke with each other at training camp.

Competing for a spot on the final 23-man World Cup roster, however, is all business. The tournament is the dream of all players, so the competition to make the roster and start is fierce.

One player said, “Players playing the same position exchange smiles and chat, but they are in fact keeping each other in check.”

A moderate level of tension is helpful for games, but excessive stress can harden a player’s physical condition. This makes rest as important as exercise.

Team coach Huh Jung-moo said, “Only when players get adequate rest can they digest training 100 percent. I try to get them to enjoy the freest environment possible when they rest.”

So how do the Taegeuk Warriors spend their free time at training camp in Austria? Many stay at their hotel rooms to spend time alone. Captain Park Ji-sung (Manchester United) is hardly seen in public in his free time, and usually reads books or plays computer games at his hotel room.

Lee Chung-yong (Bolton) and Ki Sung-yueng (Celtic) are similar to Park in the way they use their free time. Cho Yong-hyung (Jeju United) and Lee Jung-soo (Kashima Antlers) say they sleep in their rooms whenever they have time.

Certain players have high curiosity. Cha Du-ri (SC Freiburg), Oh Beom-seok (Ulsan Hyundai), Yeom Ki-hun (Suwon Bluewings) and Jung Sung-ryong (Seongnam Ilwha) rented bicycles and went on a short hike early in the morning the day after their arrival.

Oh said, “The scenery was so gorgeous that I could hardly afford to stay indoors.”

These players are known for their expeditious spirit, always wanting to go sightseeing. Cha, who speaks fluent German due to having played in the Bundesliga, is busy as a translator for his teammates.

Other players say they spend time thinking about their families. Married players including Kim Nam-il (Tom Tomsk) and Ahn Jung-hwan (Dalian Shide) say they write or phone their wives and express their love whenever they can.