‘Soccer without genealogy is gone’
On the day when the professional soccer K-League was held, it was hung on the cheering seats at Steel Yard, a soccer-only stadium in Pohang. Pohang Steelers, founded in April 1973 as an unemployed soccer team of Pohang Iron and Steel, is the only professional soccer team that has not changed its name and location for 50 years.토토사이트
Lee Hoi-taek, Huh Jeong-moo, Choi Soon-ho, Hwang Seon-hong… . Korean soccer’s famous figures served as coaches. Director Kim Ki-dong, who succeeded the ‘genealogy’, is also from Pohang’s legend. He has played a total of 501 games in the K-League alone, including 227 games played in Pohang (1991-92, 2003-11), ranking second among field players with the most appearances. During his active career, Kim Ki-dong was a ‘iron man’ who played tirelessly as a defensive midfielder despite his small stature (171 cm).
After coach Kim took the baton in 2019, Pohang became a ‘theater goal team’. A theater goal refers to an equalizer or come-from-behind goal scored just before the end of the regular time period after 90 minutes. Pohang scored 7 theatrical goals this season alone, and, oddly enough, the main characters were defenders or substitutes.
Pohang Steelers is losing key players every year as parent company POSCO’s support decreases. Nevertheless, coach Kim always kept the top rank. This season, they are ranked second among 12 teams in the K-League 1, and have advanced to the semifinals in the FA Cup, which determines the best club in Korea.
On the 8th, I met coach Kim, who came to Jeju for the FA Cup semi-finals (delayed by a typhoon) at the Seogwipo KAL Hotel.
There is no role model leader, I am the role model
Q: Why do Pohang have so many theater goals?
A : “We do a lot of winter training to the point that the players don’t like it. In the summer, when power and strength drop, you have no choice but to sag, but during the season, you have no time to recover because it leads to game-rest-game. I’m going while taking away the stamina I accumulated over the winter. The hard winter training I have been pushing for 5 years has resulted in results, so the players have confidence. The stamina built up in the winter becomes the strength to hit at the end of the game, and I think theatrical goals come from that.”
Q: How about the expression ‘mobilization magic’?
A : “’How could that be?’ Fans call me that because there are scenes where I keep doing it. Where is magic in the world? It’s about thinking and preparing together with the players and coaches. When the flow of the game doesn’t go as planned or unexpected variables come out, I think how elaborate a plan B and plan C are to determine the outcome. ‘There is no magic. There is only preparation.”
Q: Is there a leader you look up to as a role model?
A : “I am Kim Ki-dong. I will play soccer in my own style, and I am not looking for someone else as a role model, but I want to be a role model. When I was a player, I had 12 coaches, and I was determined to accept their good points and not do things the players didn’t like. Players don’t like leaders who are too pushy or don’t change at all within their framework.”
Q: Compared to when you were active, how are the players now?
A : “I think I am more serious about football. Before, there were many players who had different thoughts than football, and there were not a few players who drank too much. There are very few of them now. I think I can play soccer for a long time, so I am passionate about taking care of my body. On the other hand, compared to our time, I think my spirit is a bit weak. The strength to strike through at the worst times comes from desperation. These days, my friends ask me to move teams if I can’t play, but I said, ‘Do you think they’ll use you to go to another team? The gourd that leaks here also leaks there,’ he blows the pack.”
Q: Baek Sung-dong, Park Seung-wook, Lim Sang-hyeop, Jung Jae-hee, etc., revived players who were once frustrated or who were in the 2nd and 3rd divisions.
A : “We brought in the players we saw within our budget. I wondered why the players who performed well were sluggish, and I saw the strengths rather than the weaknesses. I get annoyed when I keep talking about my weaknesses to players over 30 years old. I thought about how to incorporate the strengths I brought out into the team. What they have in common is that they handle the ball well and understand positioning quickly. Players have to find a space where the opponent is having a hard time, a position where our attack can be released.”
Q: The players seem to really like the coach.
A : “People say ‘brother’s leadership’, but it is inevitable that players will be uncomfortable. A director is a director, so how do you become an older brother (laughs). However, since I checked carefully, I could tell ‘what’s going on’ just by looking at his expression. When it comes to the players’ worries, it’s about having problems with the opposite sex, family problems, or having an injury. To put it mildly, it’s 95% of what you’d expect. It comes from my long experience.”
Coach Kim says goodbye to some of the players he has been close to at the end of the season every year. This is because players who move teams after being presented with good conditions keep appearing. Among them, there are players who broke up without a clearing. “There was a case where I still don’t feel good, like player A who became a national team member. I always said, ‘We are not a club with a lot of money, but I will help you succeed. If it becomes a vessel that cannot be put here, I will send it to you at any time.” Anyone can leave, but it would be nice if they had minimal communication with me and left while receiving congratulations.”
Pohang, 50 years old, regrets lack of support
Q: What do you emphasize the most when working out with players?
A : “You shouldn’t change your training attitude depending on your mood. If you go over excited because you feel good and get wet because you feel bad, you harm the team atmosphere. The 50-year tradition and culture of the Pohang team has been well maintained until now. Great players don’t make great teams, great teams make great players.”
Q: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding.
A : “It was the cradle of Korean soccer stars, but these days it has become a team where it is difficult for a national team member to appear. I know that it is bound to be influenced by the parent company, but it’s a bit disappointing. If you apply just 5 billion won more than the money you are spending now, you can challenge for the championship, and you can confidently say that you will take off your clothes if you do not succeed. Out of 12 teams, we are in second place with the 11th-largest budget, and this alone is a miracle. But it can’t be like this. It’s right that the team you invest in brings good results.”
Q: You must be jealous of your rival Ulsan Hyundai.
A: “Honestly, I am a little envious. The coach picks the players he wants and brings good resources with him. However, our players are also lacking and inexperienced, but the process of preparing and making them together is fun. The difficult thing about the East Coast derby (Pohang-Ulsan rivalry) is that there is a burden on the game itself, but it has a huge impact on the next game.”
Coach Kim is a renowned golfer in the soccer world. He once reached 4 under par, and became a medalist in the 2016 Soccer In Golf Tournament with 2 under par. Around the time of his retirement, his wife, Cho Hyeon-gyeong, suggested, “How about going all-in on golf for a year and taking a pro test?” Director Kim said, “If that happens, my favorite hobby will disappear. I want to make golf a friend, not a job.”
She asked Director Kim about his future plans. he answered honestly. “Having been in charge of the team for 5 years, I have concerns about winning and a sense of responsibility to develop good players. But you can’t be on this team for a thousand years. I want to play in a better environment because it is like a player or a manager.”
Director Kim’s philosophy is contained in the profile message on his mobile phone. He said, ‘I don’t think about yesterday’s praise. Because I am in the present, not the past. Today is mine.’
Pohang Steelers uniform number 66 is Kim Jun-ho (20, photo). He is the son of director Kim Ki-dong. His position is also central midfielder, the same as when his father was active, and his uniform number is also related to his father (number 6).
Kim Jun-ho, who is in his 3rd year as a pro, has a sleek physique of 182 cm and 74 kg, excellent mobility and passing power, and has the ability to shoot mid-range. With the transfer of Shin Jin-ho, a built-in central midfielder, to Incheon, the opportunity to play this season has increased. Lee Eul-yong-Tae-seok (Seoul), Shin Tae-yong-Jaewon (Seongnam), Ki-hyeong Lee-Hojae (Pohang), etc. There are quite a few fathers and sons who have been active in the K League for generations. However, it is the first time that a son plays under his father’s coach in the K-League 1.
What is the heart of a father looking at his son? Coach Kim said, “When I first put it in the game, every time Junho caught the ball, my heart felt like it was going down. I’m afraid he’ll make a mistake. He has no choice but to be stricter than other players.”
Is there anyone who sees him with a crooked gaze, saying, ‘Daddy’s chance’? There is no back story yet. This is because Kim Jun-ho is from the ‘Steelers Youth Sacred Gol’, which goes from Pocheoldong Elementary School to Pocheol Middle School to Pocheol High School, and he has skills that are recognized by anyone his age.
Director Kim said, “Junho grew 33cm during the 3 years of high school. Balance and power are not yet complete. He said to the club, ‘It’s okay to watch for 3 years and leave if it doesn’t work’. Fortunately, I feel a lot better this year,” he said with a shy smile. It seems that even the ‘iron man’ is not doing his children’s work the way he wants.