The coach of the team that beat France at the FIFA U-20 World Cup is Kim Eun-joong, who made a name for himself as a specialist striker during his playing days. Now, he’s taking on the challenge with his students to fulfill a dream he didn’t achieve as a player 24 years ago.
Born in 1979, Kim Eun-jung, a goalie who was part of the same era as fellow star Lee Dong-gook, was nicknamed “Sharp” for his goal-scoring prowess, even after he was hit by a ball in his third year of middle school and virtually lost the sight in his left eye.안전놀이터
In 1998, when he was 19 years old, Kim scored four goals to lead South Korea to victory at the Under-19 Asian Championship and went on to play in the Under-20 World Cup in Nigeria the following year.
The team had high hopes with Kim Eun-jung, Lee Dong-guk, and Seol Ki-hyun, but they were eliminated at the bottom of the group stage, and the striker was silent for all three games.
It was a regrettable memory for Coach Kim.
[Kim Eun-joong, U20 National Team striker (1999): I think there’s a lot of difference in terms of physicality and individual skills between our Korean players].
Kim coached the Asian Games and Olympic teams before taking over the U-20 team last year.
[Kim Eun-joong/U-20 coach: You need to keep your body calm and your passes fast. Give and take, give and take].
His fast, dynamic style of soccer led the team to qualify for the tournament, where they upset “favorites” France in their first game.
At that stage 24 years ago, when he faded away as a player, he is determined to fly as high as possible with his students.
[Kim Eun-joong/U-20 coach: “The primary goal is to pass the group stage, and after that, I think good results will come if we prepare well for each match in the tournament.”]