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College Player Aims for School and Soccer in One Shot

Posted September. 15, 2010 11:47,   


Song Jun-seop, 20, is majoring in sports education at Seoul National University and plays for the varsity soccer team.

He hopes to become the second player from the country’s most prestigious university to turn pro following Class of 1991 alumnus Lee Hyun-seok, who played for the Hyundai Horang-I (now Ulsan Hyundai).

○ “I don’t envy Ki Sung-yueng”

Song started to play soccer in the fourth grade at Galhyun Elementary School in Seoul. In 2002, he went to Brisbane, Australia, to learn soccer and played with future star Ki Sung-yueng at Kim Pan-keun Soccer Clinic (now Shin Tae-yong Soccer Clinic).

Ki returned home after four years, went to Kumho High School in Gwangju, and then joined FC Seoul. He is now a key member of the Korean national team and plays for Celtic FC of the Scottish Premier League.

Song said, “I’ve seriously thought about my career. I chose to go to Australia to play soccer and study at the same time, but my resolve weakened when my fellow players returned to Korea. But I remained in Australia to pursue possibilities other than just playing soccer.”

After graduating from high school in Australia, Song applied to Seoul National in 2007 via rolling admissions and entered in 2008. “At first, I envied Ki Sung-yueng and Kim Joo-young (Gyeongnam FC). I wanted to be like them. But then I changed my mind and became confident I could make it,” he said.

○ Hope from collegiate competition

Unlike most students who take 18 credits, Song is taking 15 credits this semester to ease the burden of taking classes and tests, submitting reports and training at the same time. When tests and games overlap, he sleeps just 30 minutes a day.

He said he knows he is behind players at other universities who train daily, but confidently added that life is what you make it.

He developed basic soccer skills obtained through six years of living in Australia and trains alone every day, including lifting weights. Playing in the college ranks is also a big help.

“In previous tournaments, I could play only three games per league and just five to six games a year. Now I play more than 20 games a year. It’s a good chance for me to boost my game,” Song said.

Kang Shin-woo, coach of Seoul National’s team and a soccer analyst for MBC, said, “Song has learned basic skills very well. He’s also very sincere and active. Moreover, he has a composed attitude in this play. He will have a high chance of success if he builds up power through weight training and accumulates experience in a pro league after one or two years.”

With a sturdy build of 183 centimeters (6’0”) and 78 kilograms (172 pounds), Song played a key role in his team’s win over Sunmoon University Thursday, Seoul National’s first victory in six years.