No one can catch the passing time. Park Joo-young (38) once again stood at a crossroads after the 2022 season. Although he helped Ulsan Hyundai win the K-League for the first time in 17 years, the future was in the fog.
After the match against Jeju United, where a splendid coronation ceremony was held, he calmly said, “Nothing has been decided. If you like kicking the ball, do more, if you don’t like it, stop. Now I will think deeply.” The new year has dawned. Park Joo-young and Ulsan’s companionship continues. But there are changes. Changed position to playing coach.
The emphasis was placed on ‘coaching’ rather than ‘playing’. Ulsan resumed training ahead of the 2023 season on the 3rd. Park Joo-young’s daily life is closer to her leader’s life. In the morning, he attends coaching staff meetings to discuss training sessions and team management. In training, they work hard as leaders and players. The training ground setting is basic. He participates in training as well as sweats with the players.
Lunch is served as a member of the coaching staff. He also attends coaching staff meetings in the afternoon and actively expresses his opinions. Busy even after work is over. It is ‘two cycles’. They eat with the players who live outside or hang out with the players who live in the clubhouse. In my free time, I go back to being a senior member of the team, not a coach.
Park Joo-young, who was a one-club man at FC Seoul, moved to Ulsan last season at 스포츠토토 the crossroads of extending his active career and retiring. ‘Eternal Master’ Hong Myung-bo, director of Ulsan, took his hand. Park Joo-young said, “I want to see the coach lift the championship trophy,” and it became a reality.
He waved his hand, saying, “I only put a spoon on it,” but it was a mental support. As his six appearances last season tell us, he didn’t play many games. Park Joo-young’s home games were ‘perfect’ despite being excluded from the entry. He also broke down the boundaries between Jujeon and Non-Jujeon. He camped with players who couldn’t see the light and cheered toward the top. Entering the final round, he helped coach Hong by accompanying him in away matches.
Somehow, I spent a season as a ‘preliminary leader’. Still, Park Joo-young enjoyed life in Ulsan. He said, “I really enjoyed every day. There was not a day when I didn’t laugh.” Then, “I bought a lot of food, but I didn’t help much. The players did well, the fans, the coach, and the staff did well, but the result did not change just because I bought food.”
Born in 1985, he will turn 38 this year. I don’t know how many games I will play yet. After Lee Ho confirmed the championship last year, he can walk the same way as if he played just one game. Still, Park Joo-young is happy just being with him on the pitch. ‘Soccer genius’ Park Joo-young is slowly transforming into a leader.