“My role model is Kim Ji-hyung because we play the same position and I really want to play for Seongnam FC. But my goal is to surpass (Kim) Ji-hyung!”
On March 31, Seongnam U18’s Yoo Min-jun was named to the final roster for the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U17 Asian Cup.
The 17-year-old, born in 2006, is currently a Seongnam U18 defender who cites his big frame and defensive buildup as his strengths. He has been with the club since the U15 team.
Under Seongnam U18 head coach Kim Geun-cheol, Yoo has been learning and growing since his U15 days, leading the team through a golden era that saw them reach the quarterfinals of the Baekwoongi High School Soccer Tournament in February and tie for third place, as well as being runners-up in the Gyeonggi-do Governor’s High School Selection Tournament this season and reaching the quarterfinals of the National High School Soccer Tournament.
Yoo cites teamwork as a strength of the U18 team. “The coach always emphasizes that we need to take the initiative, play steadily, and use our heads. We have a good team spirit, so we seem to be able to do these things well. Also, off the field, the coach treats us like friends, which gives us a sense of belonging and good results,” he explained.
Yoo Min-joon, who has been participating in the U17 national team’s call-up training amidst a busy tournament and league schedule, said, “We had a lot of tournaments this year and it was an important time, but it didn’t help the team much. “I was physically tired from being called up (to the U17 national team) during the tournament, but I was thinking about the team the most,” he apologized.
As a role model, he cited center back Kim Ji-soo, who reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA U20 World Cup. “I was with (Kim) Ji-soo in the U15 and U18 teams. He leads well, uses both feet, and is good on the ball. “He’s a role model, but it’s also a goal I want to surpass,” he said, adding that he wanted to emulate the way he performs in a professional team and doesn’t get nervous.안전놀이터
“I’m grateful to coach Byun Sung-hwan for giving me this opportunity. I am also very grateful to Coach Kim Geun-chul and the coaching staff for their generous advice and teaching since I was U15, and to the club for their support. I will do my best to stay in Thailand for a long time because this is a once-in-a-lifetime tournament and we are aiming to win the title after 21 years together.”
The AFC U17 Asian Cup will be held in Thailand from June 11 to July 3, with Yoo departing the country today (June 10) for his first match against Qatar at 21:00 on Friday, June 16 at Pathum Thani Stadium.