“I think the gap with Japan is already huge.”
‘Eternal Rivals’ Korean and Japanese football enjoyed the joy of advancing to the round of 16 side by side at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but things are different when you dig into the details. If South Korea entrusted its body to Portuguese coach Paulo Bento for more than four years, Japan’s native Moriyasu Hajime’s consistent leadership created synergy with the skills selected by players who advanced to Europe.
Because of this, envy about the Japanese soccer environment and system continued to pour in after the World Cup. Former coach Choi Tae-wook, who assisted Bento coach, appeared on a social network service (SNS) in a video and coldly evaluated the environmental difference between Korea and Japan soccer, and Kim Min-jae (Napoli) explained the difficulties of players entering Europe and said, “I envy Japan.” left a comment.
Multiplayer Park Joo-ho (36), who made his professional debut in 2009 with Mito Holyhawks in Japan’s J-League, went through Kashima Antlers and Jubilo Iwata, and established ties with Europe through FC Basel (Switzerland) in 2011. He said honestly that it was better. He is known as ‘Na-eun’s father’ through variety programs, but if you look at the path he has passed as a soccer player, he is by no means an easy existence.
Park Joo-ho started with Basel, went through Mainz and Borussia Dortmund (above Germany), and joined Ulsan Hyundai late in 2018 to experience the K-League. For Park Joo-ho, who played in the Bundesliga, the European Football Federation Champions League (UCL) and the Europa League (UEL), the K-League was a new world. He also grew up in Korea, but he only experienced the football environment of the top adult team in his 30s.
Park Joo-ho, whom we met on the 7th at the 2023 K-League Winter Field Training Media Day, clearly recognized the ‘difference from Japan’ and said, “The grass condition is very different (from Japan or Europe). In terms of environment, there is a huge difference from Japan. Apart from the market environment (which makes up the league), there are differences in things other than the elements shown. I was really surprised by the situation in Korea because I had experienced Japan,” he couldn’t hide his regret.
The K-League marks its 40th anniversary this year, but problems still abound. From the use of the stadium to the development of players and the operation of the system, everything is pushing the limits. Advances into Europe are continuing like beans sprouting in a drought. Of course, the sincerity of the club that invested in players should not be ignored, but every time it is swept away by public opinion, administrative or policy decisions that fail to meet the standards invite criticism for ‘doing everything well’. In the case of Jeonbuk Hyundai, which is said to be the leading club, they hired Park Ji-seong as a technical director and are now establishing the framework of the club.
Park Joo-ho’s thoughts were clear after experiencing planned player development and advances into Europe in Japan, which became a professional football relatively later than Korea. He said, “(In case of advancing to Europe from Korea), “It would be nice to go straight to the big leagues and play, but it is definitely necessary for players to adjust.
Even if it is a small and medium league , it is absolutely not an easy place,” he said, saying that step-by-step advancement is better. It has entered various places such as Switzerland, Austria, Serbia, Greece, etc. Korea is also experiencing various leagues only recently, but the range is still not wide due to environmental differences, such as returning home if you do not achieve success in Europe for a certain period of time due to an obstacle in fulfilling your military service obligations. not.
Park Joo-ho said, “Even in the small and medium leagues, players from all over the world are gathered. Competition is really fierce there, too, and few players go to the big leagues. We can adapt safely and create better opportunities,” he said, insisting that each other should look at each other broadly for step-by-step development and player development.
Even 10 years ago, if Europe was difficult, it was best to go to Japan, China, or the Middle East. This is because the pursuit of economic profit took precedence. Park Joo-ho also said, “It would be the dream of all soccer players to go to Europe. When I was young, when I was 20 years old, I had no dream of going to Europe. My only dream was to go to the Japanese J-League. That’s because I haven’t seen many seniors playing in Europe.” Explained.
However, there are many Europeans who have experience, including Park Joo-ho. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) became an icon, followed by Kim Min-jae and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca). Youths who have watched their matches on SPOTV and other European leagues are dreaming of advancing to Europe. 안전놀이터
Park Joo-ho, who agreed to be someone’s role model, said, “I have to go (to Europe) unconditionally. The K-League teams also need consideration. Players can grow and come back. Because they can come back after becoming a bigger player, it is unconditional. If a good opportunity comes, you have to leave. It’s more so because I don’t think the next time a recruiting offer comes from the same team. The recruiting offer is because there are not enough players in the position. If I don’t go, I’ll fill in with another player and a few months later I think a different situation will be created. “
In the end, it is Park Joo-ho’s perception that a difference from the J-League appears at this point. Park Joo-ho, presuming that it is a problem that all players agree with, said, “I started playing in Japan and went to Europe, but the environment in Japan is really similar to or better than Europe. But after coming to Korea, I was really surprised. There are still many areas to be developed,” he said, agreeing with the public’s point that although there are conditions to play, such as the creation of a soccer-only stadium as a result of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, details such as grass growth and training facilities are still at a standstill.
Park Joo-ho points out that not only the players but also the club staff should go to Europe to learn. This is because the overall human exchange achieves the improvement of the system. He said, “Japan doesn’t just send players to Europe. Team managers and other employees continue to go to European clubs for training or learn the system through agreements. I think Korea is lacking in that part a lot,” he said, hitting the bone with the club management.