Surprise wildcard Park Jin-seop is actually a ‘multi-powerhouse’

Park Jin-seop, the most experienced member of the AG National Team
No national team experience—First Taegeuk mark
Debuted as a striker in the 3rd team, a late keeper
2nd MF—Active as an all-north line defender
Hwang Sun-hongho ‘Hidden Reliable Man’ Expectation

Of the 22 men’s soccer players on the final roster for the Asian Games, there are three wild cards that can be selected regardless of age. Looking back at previous Asian Games, the medal colors have changed depending on who the wildcards are. It’s an important spot. However, an athlete who has never worn the taegeuk on an age-group national team will be the wild card and the most experienced member of the national team at the Asian Games. This is Park Jin-seop (28, North Korea), a “multi-talented” player who has played as a forward, midfielder, and defender in the professional ranks.

Park was a virtual unknown until a few years ago. Not only did he never make the national team, let alone his age group, but he only stepped onto the professional soccer field in the K League 1 (first division) last year at the age of twenty-seven.

Park’s soccer career didn’t start out well. In 2017, the year after he finished his third year of college (Digital Seoul Institute of Culture and Arts), he tried out for Daejeon Citizen (now Daejeon Hana Citizen), but a sudden change in coaches derailed his professional plans. After failing to make the jump, he signed with Daejeon Korail in the third tier National League (now K3 League).

Park’s steady performances, coupled with his work ethic, caught the eye of Lee Heung-sil, who was managing the Ansan Greeners in the K League 2 (second division), and within a year, he had turned pro. Up until then, he played as a striker and scored his first professional goal against Seoul Eland FC in April 2018. However, he was increasingly deployed in the midfield, where his work rate and physicality made him one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. Two years later, in 2020, he made the switch to a corporate club and proudly joined the Daejeon Hana Citizens in their first season. This was especially significant as the team had failed to sign him three years earlier.

Park’s evolution was not over. Last year, while wearing the jersey of Jeonbuk, the strongest team in the K League 1, he switched positions again to center back. Due to the team’s lack of defenders, he was often used as a center back, and his gritty defense saved the team from many crises. As a result, he was recognized as one of the best defenders in Korea at the K League Awards last year, being named the Best 11 Defender in K League 1.

Park’s progression from striker to midfielder and back to defender has been unstoppable, and he was named as a wildcard to the final roster for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which was announced by Hwang Sun-hong in July. “As the eldest brother, I was instructed by the coach to take care of the organizational aspects of the defense,” Park said, adding, “The wild card is an important position, so I will try to lead the juniors well.”

At the last Asian Games, Jakarta-Palembang 2018, Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich), and Cho Hyun-woo (Ulsan) played a crucial role in winning the gold medal as wild cards. Four years before that, Kim Shin-wook (Kitsch), Kim Seung-kyu (Al-Shabaab), and Park Joo-ho (retired) helped Korea win the 2014 Incheon Games. When asked about the perceived lack of weight compared to previous wildcards, Park said, “It’s something I recognize,” but added, “Baek Seung-ho and Seol Young-woo (the other wildcards) are doing well in the league. If we prepare well with the existing players, I think we can achieve good results.”카지노사이트

Meanwhile, Hwang Sun-hong, who is preparing for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which begin on Sept. 23, travels to China on Sept. 16 to face Kuwait in the first match of Group E (8:30 p.m. KST on Sept. 19).

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