What is the probability that the two players who had a childhood relationship and wore soccer boots side by side will be together in the last moments of their active career? Lee Yong (37) and Park Joo-ho (36). The two players who left a strong mark in the national team are just such a case, and they are preparing to finish by spending their twilight years together at Suwon FC.
Lee Yong and Park Joo-ho, who grew up in Hanam, Gyeonggi-do, met in 1998 when they transferred to Ui Elementary School in Seoul when they were in the 6th grade of elementary school. Since then, the two, who have not been able to play on the same team except for the national team, have been together as teammates at Suwon FC since the second half of last year.
Lee Yong and Park Joo-ho, who met with News 1 at Suwon Sports Complex on the 20th, showed that they were close by exchanging jokes such as “We don’t get along well” and “It’s awkward to take pictures together, not close friends.”
The relationship between the two has already been 26 years. Lee Yong said, “I spent my childhood in Hanam, but at that time, there was no elementary school with a soccer team in Hanam City. I transferred to Ui-cho,” he said. “I started playing football in earnest when I transferred school in the second half of sixth grade. I also met Zuho for the first time at that time.”
Lee Yong said, “Ever since childhood, Zuho was good at soccer in Hanam City and was famous for being a fast player.”
Lee Yong and Park Joo-ho spent a lot of time together when they started playing soccer. The house they lived in at the time was in the same direction, and thanks to that, the parents of the two have been close to this day.
Park Joo-ho said, “At that time, Yong-yong and I were the shortest among the players. We had similar physiques and had the same home direction, so we spent a lot of time together.” Even when we were in middle school and high school, when we had time, we met each other in the neighborhood and continued our relationship.”
The two took different paths. Park Joo-ho drew attention by participating in the U-20 World Cup and being consistently selected for the national team by age group. Afterwards, he started his professional career in Japan and went through Switzerland (Basel) and Germany (Mainz/Dortmund). And since 2010, he was called up by the A national team and played an active part in the national team.
Lee Yong saw the light of day compared to Park Joo-ho. Lee Yong, who did not pass through the national team by age group, joined Ulsan Hyundai in 2010 and stepped on his professional stage and played an active role from the start. Lee Yong, who stood out in his team, was able to debut for the A national team in 2013. Afterwards, he moved to Jeonbuk Hyundai, a strong player in the K League, and established himself as a fullback representing the K League.
Lee Yong said, “It was a challenge for Zuho, who had been through the national team for each age group, to advance to Japan after receiving an unfavorable offer. I made up my mind. It seems that Zuho’s performance has been a great driving force for growth.”
Park Joo-ho, who heard his friend’s words, said, “In fact, Yong-yong has had outstanding talent since he was young. But it was a case where he saw the light late because he was not lucky.” I was able to quickly gain the upper hand in the competition within Jeonbuk and the national team,” he said, creating a warm atmosphere.
The two, who had never played on the same team since elementary school except for the national team, were able to work together in the second half of last year when Lee Yong-yi transferred to Suwon FC on a short-term lease. Then, he completely transferred to Suwon FC this season, and the two became friends until the end.
Lee Yong expressed his gratitude to Park Joo-ho, saying, “I jokingly asked if I should play on the same team as Zu-ho once, but it came true.
Park Joo-ho has recently been helping Lee Yong in various ways. Last year, Park Joo-ho accompanied Lee Yong-yong during individual workouts to compete in the World Cup in Qatar. During the Qatar World Cup, when the two appeared together on a broadcast, Park Joo-ho, who had a lot of experience in broadcasting, was a source of strength next to him.
In response to his friend’s gratitude, Park Joo-ho said, “Actually, I was in a situation where I couldn’t compete in the Qatar World Cup. However, Yong-yong had a strong will for the 3rd World Cup. I knew that working out alone would be more difficult, so I was with him during individual workouts. They also talked. We shared a lot and made another memory together,” he said calmly.
“Broadcasting was also fun. In fact, I was very nervous because it was my first live broadcast, but after the first broadcast, I had fun. Also, I was able to listen to and share a lot of information with Yong-yong, who knew the national team players well and had lived in the national team until the most recent time.” added.
Park Joo-ho, who is already a father of three children, laughed, saying, “Yong-yong recently had a child, and I have thoughts of helping him with childcare later.”
Lee Yong and Park Joo-ho are veterans belonging to the advanced age in the entire K-League 1. Both of them are now looking at the end to the point of being calm at the word ‘last’.
Park Joo-ho said, “The time has come when it doesn’t matter when I retire. I always think that I have to leave when I get applause. I don’t want to take a place on the team without meaning.” It is meaningful to me that I am playing in the game, and that I am with you from start to finish.”
Lee Yong also said,먹튀검증 “I want to run together with Zuho for another 1-2 years and finish it together. Zuho says I have to quit quickly, but when I look at it from the side, I’m in a state where I can run even more.” He expressed satisfaction in the twilight of his career with Park Joo-ho.
The two, who are planning a second life, are likely to be together even after retirement. Park Joo-ho said, “I haven’t made a specific plan yet, but I plan to continue my broadcasting work and soccer at the same time.” Lee Yong also said, “I am preparing to become a soccer leader,” and expressed his intention to continue his relationship with soccer after his retirement.