After moving from Europe to the United States to play overseas, South Korea’s U-22 national soccer team forward Jung Sang-bin (21-Minnesota United) said that living abroad is a stepping stone to growth, and he hasn’t hidden his dream of competing in next year’s Paris Olympics.
“It’s been a long time since I joined the national team,” he told reporters at the U-22 team’s training session at the Changwon Soccer Center on Friday. I think it’s a very important tournament as it starts the Olympic qualifiers, and I want to make a good start as a team with all the players.”
After breaking through to the senior national team with Suwon Samsung in the K League One, he was not called up to the age-group squad for a while as he struggled to find his feet in Europe last year, but has now been included in the roster for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup 2024 qualifiers.
After joining English Premier League (EPL) side Wolverhampton, he was quickly loaned to Swiss side Grasshopper, but a string of injuries kept him out of action, and in March of this year, he left Switzerland to join Minnesota United in the Major League Soccer (MLS).
In Minnesota, he has one goal and one assist in 17 MLS games this season, and he has also played in cup competitions.
“After leaving Suwon, the whole situation was very difficult. I didn’t play many games in Switzerland and got injured a lot,” he recalled. “I think things changed a lot when I went to the U.S. because I met good people and got a lot of opportunities.”
“I learned a lot from watching my national team brothers, but it’s really hard to live abroad. Staying alone and communicating in the language were the most difficult,” he confessed, “but I think I improved through that life. I also gained a lot of experience in my soccer skills.”
The MLS, where he played, has recently received a lot of attention due to the arrival of Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), the ‘God of Soccer’.
“It’s not that Messi came and revitalized it, but MLS was a very big market even before that. “I already had a good feeling about it, so I didn’t think twice about it, and I’m living in a much better environment than I did in Switzerland,” he said. “If I get the chance to play against Messi, it will be a different experience.
For now, it’s time to focus on the U-22 team. From June 6 to 12, the U-22s will play three AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers at the Changwon Football Center. It is the first gateway to the Paris Olympics.
“The Olympics is not an easy competition, and every athlete thinks of it as a ‘dream stage’. “The coach emphasizes a lot on aggressive, aggressive play and movement off the ball, so I will continue to work on those things,” he said. 먹튀검증