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K League in Tokyo 2020: Kang Yoon-seong Q&A

league 2021.07.13   I   조회수 329

K League will be well-represented at this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo with 19 of Kim Hak-bum's men's football team plying their trade in Korea's domestic leagues. One of whom is Jeju United's Kang Yoon-seong, a versatile and gifted player who at the relatively tender age of 24, has already amassed well over 100 games as a professional. Kang sat down with KLeague.com for a Q&A ahead of this summer's Games.

First of all, congratulations on being picked for the Olympics squad. You must be very proud?

"I feel a great level of responsibility to be chosen to represent my country. I will do my best to make my country proud."

Describe what last week was like, please. First you were out of the squad then you got called up on Friday after the roster was expanded to 22 players, how did you feel when you heard the news of the extension? Were you confident of being added to the squad? 

"It was good to hear that the squad will be expanded from 18 to 22 players, but I tried not to set my expectations to high to get called up because I’ve already been left out from the squad once."

What did the coach say to you when you were called up? Was that an awkward conversation?

"The coaches just gave me warm hugs and we shook hands. We didn't have much of a conversation but I could feel that they had had a hard time in narrowing down the squad to 18 players."

What was training like leading up to the squad announcement? Were you nervous or worried about it?

"We just did our best every day, but we also had concerns in the lead up to the squad announcement."

How did you feel when you heard the Olympics were going to be postponed? Were you worried you might make it due to being 24 this year?

"I have to say I was worried honestly, but I was lucky to keep myself in very positive frame of mind and thanks to the KFA, my worries did not develop so much since the KFA was behind us, my group of mates who were born in 1997. "

What are your thoughts on Korea’s group stage opponents with New Zealand, Honduras and Romania?

"I have always been told and head coach Kim kept reminding us that we never know who is behind or who in front of us. Therefore, there will be no easy games and doing the best in every single match will lead us to good results."

What is Coach Kim Hak-bum like to work with?

He made me a better player, and I always appreciate him a lot.

You played at left back and in midfield for Daejeon early in your career but have featured mostly from left back at Jeju and for Korea. What is your preferred position? 

"Whichever team I am called for, I remain at their disposal to play whichever position they want me to. But If I were to pick one, I believe I would perform at my best when playing as a left or right-sided defender." 

[READ: K League Olympians Goalkeepers & Defenders]

What are you thinking about the most, winning an Olympic medal or earning military exemption?

"Earning military exemption has never been a priority in our team. We are just doing our best to do our country proud. Through the Olympic games, I would like to prove my value as a player, and do my very best for my country."

How will the experience of winning the AFC U23 Asian Cup help you and the team in the Olympics?

"Winning the AFC U23 Asian Cup means we are the best team in Asia which gives us confidence for our performances in the Olympics. "

It is quite likely that you will face Japan in the Quarter Finals should you make it. Would winning an Olympic medal in Japan, Korea’s rivals, make it that little bit sweeter? 

"Winning a game (against Japan) would be great and winning an Olympic medal will be even better. I don’t want to give any special meaning just because the possible opponent is Japan. I will do my best in every game."

Paul Neat
Managing Editor