“I can only say thank you to the kids .”
The Ulsan Hyundai U-15 team, led by head coach Kim Ho-yu, defeated FC Seoul U-15 4-2 on penalties to lift the trophy in the final of the 2023 GROUND.N K League U-15 Championship at Cheonan Stadium on Nov. 21.
This is the first time Ulsan has won the U-15 championship, which was established in 2018, and avenged the disappointment of the U-14 team finishing as runners-up the previous day. The U-15 Championship played a full league without a tournament in 2019 and 2021, and was canceled in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Kim took the helm of the U-15s this year after coaching the U-12s and U-15s. At the championships, the U-14 and U-15 teams reached the final together. The U-14 team had to settle for runner-up in the championship final the day before. “It’s my first year, and I emphasized a lot of fundamentals,” says Kim. The kids responded very well. I can only say thank you,” Kim said, adding, “They had a lot of desire to do well in their junior and senior years. They helped each other a lot and believed in each other every game. I think we need to get rid of the 10 seconds of complacency, and I think we’ll learn from this.”
It was not an easy game. They took the lead in the third minute of the second half, but after defending a goal, they conceded just before the end of regulation to send the game into extra time. Even in the penalty shootout, their number one kicker, Park Hyun-soo, missed the target. Kim said, “I thought we were going to lose the game. I couldn’t think of anything else. I was hesitant to make a substitution. Physically, we were not in a position to counterattack.”
Goalkeeper Choi Joo-ho made two saves in the penalty shootout. Coach Kim said, “I don’t have anything to say, I have to praise him. He saved the penalty kick well in training,” Kim said, adding, “We have two goalkeepers on the age-group national team. They continue to improve.”
Ulsan Hyundai, who won the championship last season, is also putting 토토사이트 their players through the buildup. “We try to follow the buildup as much as possible,” said Kim. We don’t play ‘fake’ soccer, but try to build up enough so that they can score a goal. We don’t scold them if they lose. I tell them to try it. “I try to make it easier for the kids and the coaches than my own philosophy. Then the kids follow me more. I leave them to their own devices. They do their own training,” he emphasized.
Kim was also the National League MVP in 2013. “I’m happier now than I was then. “It’s not easy to win and win awards while teaching kids. It’s a new feeling to give back to the kids,” he said.