‘Seoul’s Eternal No. 13’ ends 20-year career in tears

“Dad, you’re not going to get hurt now, are you?”

FC Seoul’s ‘One Club Man Legend’ Ko Yo-han, 36, reflected on his 20-year career at his final press conference as ‘Player Ko Yo-han’.

After the 7th round of the ‘Hana Bank K League 1 2024’ against Pohang at Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 13th, he said, “It’s cool and scary. As the girls said, I’m glad I didn’t get injured, but when I saw the players play today, I wanted to change my retirement. I’m so glad I finished well. It’s been a great honor and reward to be a part of this sport,” he said of his retirement.

After the game, which ended in a 2-4 defeat for Seoul, he burst into tears as he gave a “final bow” to the Seoul fans. “My wife told me to cry a lot before I went to the stadium, but when the video of my parents came on, I cried a lot. My parents sacrificed a lot for me and suffered a lot. Even when their son was fussy about playing sports, they supported him with love, and I think that’s what made him a good athlete,” he said.

Ko joined Seoul in 2004 at the age of 16 and played exclusively for the club for 20 years. In 353 league appearances, he scored 33 goals and provided 29 assists. He won six titles, including three K League titles (2010, 2012, and 2016), one FA Cup (now the Korea Cup) (2015), and two League Cups (2006 and 2010).

The middle school student is now a father of two. “Seoul is the club that gave me my dream. It’s the place that made everything come true. I have a lot of affection for them because I dedicated half of my life to them,” he said, adding, “I also received a lot of love from the fans.”

He continued, “The best part was when we lifted the trophy together. My only regret is that we didn’t lift the ACL trophy in Seoul. I go back to the second game of the (2013) ACL final and think, ‘If I played with all my strength, could I have changed the result?

Seoul retired Goyohan’s No. 13 jersey for the first time in franchise history. “It was nice to feel like they recognized the moments I’ve been playing hard for 20 years. I will always cherish the time I dedicated to 안전놀이터 Seoul, and I will miss them,” he said.

“The most common response was, ‘Why don’t you play a little longer?’ They said, ‘You’ve been struggling, and we support you in your second life.’ I told (Ki) Sung-yong that he should struggle more in the future.” “When I saw him play on the field today, I felt like I wanted to play with him,” he said.

He added that the senior coaches told him, “I hope you learn a lot and try harder in the future, and there will be another tough road ahead.

This year, Ko will begin his coaching career as coach of Osango, a Seoul youth team. “I want to develop players with dedication, fighting spirit, tactics that suit the team, and players who can play all positions,” he said, emphasizing that he wants to prepare well to be chosen as Seoul’s head coach in the future.

“I joined the team when I was young and learned and grew a lot. I would like to see the club provide support to the development team and discover good players from there, so that many players like Ssangyong (Ki Sung-yong Lee) and Tugo (Ko Myung-jin) can come out.”


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