“Every soccer player dreams of going to a big club. I respect his opinion.”
In a month’s time, Hwang Ui-jo, 31, and FC Seoul’s six-month short-term loan deal will end. Hwang will be with Seoul until June 30. If you ask him where he’ll be playing in July, it’s probably safe to say he doesn’t know yet.
After playing for Nottingham Forest (England) and being loaned to Olympiakos (Greece), Hwang’s place in the team was limited and he moved to Seoul. With FIFA rules only allowing transfers to leagues that operate on the spring and fall calendar, Seoul head coach Ahn Ik-soo, who played together in their early 20s, reached out to Hwang. They joined on a six-month short-term loan. In 2017, Seoul returned to the K League after six years.
Hwang played 14 of the team’s 15 games this season. Two goals and two assists, which is disappointing for a national team striker.
However, there’s more to Hwang that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. He didn’t just score goals. He runs all over the pitch to create chances for his teammates, battles with opposing defenders to secure the attacking third, and presses hard on defense to win possession.
Coach Ahn Ik-soo said, “He’s matured and has a sense of responsibility, unlike the player I met when he was younger. He also has a team spirit. He’s doing a good job as a Korean soccer legend. It’s just that his efforts to show his maturity are not producing good results.”
Hwang’s contract ends in a month. What does coach Ahn Ik-soo have in mind?
“I think the first thing is to respect the player’s opinion,” said Ahn Ik-soo, who met with Gangwon FC before their Round 15 match at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 28th. I am a senior in the soccer world before I am a coach. Every soccer player dreams of going to a big club. You have to respect that.”
“Of course, there are expectations (that he will stay), but you have to respect what you respect and see what happens next,” he added.
The league is in full swing. Ahn doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the players, who should be focusing on the game. 메이저놀이터
“In some ways, it can be a burden on the players and take away from their happiness,” Ahn said. For now, I think I’m in a position to serve them faithfully in the process of showing the fans entertaining soccer.”
As for Hwang’s thoughts, he says: “I think time is flying by. I don’t know yet. The first goal is to make Seoul a team that can compete at a really high level,” he cautions.