“I want people to watch my game and remember me as a really hard-working player. My strengths are my activity, my kill passes, and my defense.”
The South Korea national soccer team (ranked 27th in FIFA), led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will take on Peru (ranked 21st in FIFA) in the Hana Bank Invitational National Soccer Team Friendly in June. Klinsmann’s men will face Peru (ranked 21st in FIFA) on June 16 at 8 p.m. at the Busan Asiad Stadium. They will face El Salvador (ranked 75th in FIFA) in the second match on June 20 at 8 p.m. at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
Ahead of the match, Klinsmann convened the players at Gudeok Stadium in Busan on March 12. There have been major changes to the roster since the March call-up. First of all, there is a change in the defense line. Kim Min-jae (Napoli) is out due to military training and Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan) is out due to injury. Park Ji-soo (Portimonense), Kim Joo-seong (FC Seoul), Jung Seung-hyun (Ulsan), and Park Kyu-hyun (Dynamo Dresden) will fill the void.
There are also players who have earned their first taegeuk. Hong Hyun-seok (KAA Gent), Park Yong-woo (Ulsan), and Ahn Hyun-beom (Jeju). Hong Hyun-seok is the one who is getting the most attention.
After graduating from Ulsan Hyundai High School, which is affiliated with Ulsan Hyundai, Hong gained experience at Spvgg Unterhaching in the German third division through the overseas loan system. He then impressed at LASK Linz satellite club FC Unions OÖ, earning a full transfer to Linz in the summer of 2020.
He continued to grow. Hong continued to impress in Linz, and last summer he moved to Gent. A strong debut. Hong got off to an impressive start, scoring on his debut with a bicycle kick. After establishing himself as a regular in his first season with the club, he finished the season with five goals and six assists in the Jupiler Pro League.
His explosion on the Belgian stage also caught the eye of Klinsmann, and he was invited to wear the Korean flag for the first time at the A-match trials in June. “I’m so happy, and I’m happy to be training with the players I saw on TV. I didn’t expect it at all,” he said of his first national team call-up.
Klinsmann had been watching Hong steadily. He even visited Ghent in April when he checked on European players. “As I remember, I wasn’t happy with my performance at the time, and I honestly thought I was screwed,” he says, adding that when asked what made him think he was selected, he guessed, “I don’t know. 메이저놀이터 I think he just saw that I played hard and worked hard offensively and defensively.”
A hard-working player. This is the kind of soccer Hong wants to show his fans. “If I’m going to play, I want them to see me play and remember that I’m a really hard worker,” he said. “My strengths are my activity, my kill passes, and my defense,” he explained.
He’s also ambitious. Hong said, “I’ll try to score a goal. I also want to score my debut goal in my debut game. Or I want to assist with a kill pass,” he said, vowing to achieve an attacking point on his debut.