Breaking through the professional wall… ‘Seoul National University Neymar’

“Seoul National University won at once, but my dream of becoming a professional player came true after 4 moves. (Laughter)”

Yoo Jun-ha (22, photo), a rookie striker at Gyeongnam FC who made her professional soccer debut, said this with a smile. He started in the 2023 season K-League 2 away game against Sangmu Kimcheon held at Gimcheon Sports Complex on the 2nd and played the ground for about 30 minutes. It was a short time, but it had a different meaning to Yoo Jun-ha. Although he is in the second division, it is because it is the first time he has stepped on the professional stage of his dreams. Until last year, Yoo Jun-ha was an amateur player who studied at Seoul National University (Physical Education major at the National University of Education) during the day and played for Nowon United in the 4th division at night. After joining Gyeongnam this season and playing games, he became a Seoul National University player who stepped on the professional football stage 34 years after Hwang Bo-gwan in 1988 and Yang Ik-jeon in 1989. Yoo Jun-ha said, “I’m happy to step on the stage I’ve dreamed of since I was young. He still can’t believe it. He seems to find soccer more difficult than studying.”

Yoo Jun-ha, who started playing soccer in Sinjeongcho, Seoul at the age of 10, stood out early as a striker and was scouted by Jumunjinjung (Gangwon), a K-League 1 Gangwon FC youth team. He led the team to the championship by scoring a hat-trick in the final of the 2018 Geumgang Daegi National High School Football Tournament, which he participated in as a sophomore at Gangneung Jungang High School (Gangwon). However, his professional threshold was high. Despite his performance in the national competition, no K-League team sent him a love call.토토사이트

From this point on, Yoo Jun-ha changed his career path to study instead of soccer. He did not neglect his studies according to his parents’ recommendation, ‘I wish I could study after exercising’. He was first out of 300 students in his grade. Yoo Jun-ha said, “There is a prejudice that the athletic department sleeps during class, but I took classes like crazy. Knowing what you know comes out on the exam, so it’s fun and motivates me, so I worked harder.” Thanks to this, he passed the department of physical education at Seoul National University through a regular screening process. Yoo Jun-ha said, “I didn’t go pro, but when I was in my senior year of high school, I was scouted by several college soccer teams. However, he wanted to continue his career as an athlete without giving up on the studies he had started,” he said.

The life of a freshman in the class of 20 was more difficult than most high school students. I listened to lectures from 8:00 am and played soccer from 4:00 pm. At first, he played for the Seoul National University soccer team. He was nicknamed ‘SNU Neymar’. In 2021, when he was in his second year, he joined Nowon United in the 4th division through a test. After the lecture, he took the subway for two hours and participated in team training at 6:00 pm. Most of the assignments were done on the bus on the way home from away games, and I studied for the exam even after returning home. As for sleep, I took a side nap while on the move. There were many times when I spilled a nosebleed during lectures.

At the same time, he was constantly tested by the pro team. However, the ‘door to pro’ did not open. Early last year, he started playing football and was frustrated for the first time. People around him advised him, “Since you went all the way to Seoul National University, give up soccer and think about other career paths.” Junha Yoo said, “I decided to try just one more year in 2022, and if that doesn’t work, let’s give up cleanly.”

As a result, he won the Young Player Award by participating in 27 K4 games in the 2022 season, scoring 7 goals and 2 assists. His excellent dribbling ability and tenacity in competing for the ball captured the heart of South Gyeongsang coach Seol Ki-hyeon. Director Seol Ki-hyun said, “The technique and sense are already at the professional level. He is a waste of skill to play in the 4th division. If he develops the stamina and physique he lacks, he will become an outstanding player.” Yoo Jun-ha, who is on leave of absence, said, “My grade point average is A, but I will try to get an A+ in soccer. First of all, I will survive as a pro. After that, I will challenge the national team.”

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