The Pohang Steelers haven’t had to worry about their Under-22 (U-22) card for the past three years. That’s because they have a “little giant” in Ko Young-joon, 22. Pohang coach Kim Ki-dong, who is notoriously picky when it comes to recruiting players, explained that the former Pohang Seonggol youth player has the skills to make the starting roster even if he is not an U-22 player. However, Ko, who was born in 2001, will not be subject to the mandatory U-22 player requirement, which has been controversial in the K League and threatens college soccer, after the 2023 season. He will turn 23 next year. Pohang will also have to insert another U-22 card from next year. But there’s no need to worry. Pohang is a ‘pollinator’ of talent.
Hong Yun-sang, born in 2002, can get them through the year. Like Ko Young-jun, Hong Yun-sang is a “Seonggol Youth” product who went through Pohang’s youth system from Pohang Steel Dongcho to Pohang Steel Middle to Pohang Steel High. Shortly after joining Pohang after graduating from high school in 2021, he was sent on loan to Wolfsburg in Germany. He then moved on to St. Pölten (Austria) and Nurnberg (Germany) to gain experience before returning to his hometown of Pohang this summer. From his debut in the K League, he made a strong impact. On the 20th of last month against Daejeon, he came on as a substitute in the 35th minute and scored a theater goal just before the end of the game with the score tied at 3-3 to win 4-3 and give the team three valuable points. On the 26th, against Gangwon, he scored a goal in the 16th minute of the first half, marking his second consecutive game with a goal.
It was a ‘double slope’. Despite not being 100 percent, he was named to the Olympic team’s call-up list and earned a spot on the team.
If Hong Yun-sang makes it through next year, Park Hyung-woo, born in 2004, will be able to utilize the U-22 card from 2025. Park, who was a key wing forward when Cheonan First Go won three high school titles last year, including the national championship, made his dream K League debut in the 29th round of the K League 1 away match against Incheon on April 2. He played the first 45 minutes. At the start of the second half, he was replaced by Kim Jong-woo. Park Hyung-woo is said to be a good penetrator who utilizes his instantaneous speed, and is a powerful shooter with both feet.온라인바카
Coach Kim said, “It’s only his first year. It’s not easy for a 19-year-old player to perform in front of such a large crowd. But he definitely tried to show what he has. She did what I asked her to do almost perfectly. He’s a player we need to continue to nurture and develop.” Kim Jin-ho