‘High School’s Strongest’ Hwang Hee-chan looks at juniors

“Don’t be complacent, lead the national team”

Hwang Hee-chan, who was the strongest player in the country when he was in high school, encouraged semi-professional players who are currently playing in the K League.

In an interview ahead of the ‘Hwang Hee Chan Football Festival’ held at the Bucheon City Hall Lawn Square on April 22, Hwang said he was surprised by the performance of semi-professional players in the K League.

Hwang had his best season since joining Wolverhampton, scoring a career-high 12 goals and providing three assists in the Premier League in the 2023-2024 season. He scored his first double-digit goals since joining the Premier League, despite missing a month and a half due to a hamstring injury in late February.

Hwang was called up to the South Korean national soccer team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2023 in January and missed the first two matches due to a hamstring injury, but he returned to action in the third match against Malaysia to help South Korea advance to the quarterfinals, where he scored a dramatic equalizer in the 51st minute of second-half stoppage time, assisted by Son Heung-min, to send the game into extra time after trailing 1-0 against Australia and set the stage for the quarterfinals.

Hwang actively interacted with fans in the preseason this year, holding a festival for the first time.

During the interview, Hwang was asked about his impressions of watching high school players Yang Min-hyuk and Kang Joo-hyuk, who are currently playing in the K League. Hwang, who was called the best player in the country when he was in high school, said he was surprised by their performance.

Hwang attended Pohang Steelers’ youth team, Pohang Iron & Steel, since middle school. In middle school, he led the team to the National Secondary School Soccer League title and the King of the King’s Cup.

In high school, he was a mainstay of the team, leading them to the K League Junior League regular season title and the Wangjoong Wangjeon. In the 메이저사이트 latter, he was the tournament’s top scorer and MVP, establishing himself as the strongest high school player at the time.

Recently, the K League has implemented a “semi-professional” contract system to promote high school players to the professional stage. The system was introduced in 2018 by the Korean Professional Football Association to protect the prospects of K League clubs, and only players over the age of 16 are allowed to sign.

This season, he represented the U-17 national team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup last year. Yang Min-hyuk, a product of Gangneung Jeil High School, has emerged as the new face of Gangwon FC. In just his rookie season, he has five goals and three assists in 17 league games with his spectacular dribbling bursts, speed, and decisiveness. He was named the K League Young Player of the Month in April and May, and this month became the first player to sign a professional contract early.

Kang Joo-hyuk (FC Seoul), who played with Yang in the U-17 national team, recently signed a semi-professional contract at the request of head coach 안전놀이터 Kim Ki-dong, joining Seoul’s professional team from Osango. He is a talented prospect who was once described by Coach Kim as “a player of a higher caliber than Yang Min-hyuk in high school”.

“I watched their matches and highlights, and they’re so good, so I think that’s why I was so surprised,” said Hwang. I was very surprised that they can play so well at the professional level at the age of high school,” he said.

“They are the ones who are going to lead Korean soccer and lead the national team in the future, so I want to encourage them to do better, and of course they will do their best, but I want to tell them that if they do well with the mindset of not settling for the moment and continuing to go further, they will have good results like now, and they will do better in the future.”

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