‘Rice Dink’ is the word we use to describe him.
A soccer hero who took over as head coach of the Vietnamese national soccer team in 2017, leaving behind a legacy of achievements in the sport for six years.
Today’s time machine protagonist is the Vietnamese Hiddink, Park Hang Seo.
◈ Soccer, I should have met you earlier…!
Park started playing soccer relatively late, first joining a soccer team in high school. He then spent a short time as a professional player, playing for unemployment teams and in the military.
In 1981, Park made his debut for the unemployment team at the time, Cheil Bank, and was good enough to be selected for the national team.
In 1984, he moved to the Lucky Geumseong Bulls, now FC Seoul. In 1985, Park was the ace of the team, winning the league title and being ranked in the best 11 midfielders in the league.
Unfortunately, Park retired at the end of the 1988 season at the age of 31.
Go, go, go, go~ South Korea!
The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup is one of the most memorable events in South Korean soccer history.
Park Hang-seo was there as head coach.
At the time, the national team manager, Gus Hiddink, said that the vertical relationship between seniors and juniors in South Korea hindered the creativity of the game and emphasized that if a senior made a mistake, the junior must point it out. This philosophy was met with both positive responses and criticism that the national coach didn’t understand the culture of the country, but Park was able to build a bridge between the coach and the players.
In recognition of his efforts to unite the squad and the team’s fourth-place finish at the World Cup, Park was honored by the South Korean government with the Order of Merit for Sportsmanship.
In a broadcast, Park showed his affection for Hiddink by saying that he still has Hiddink’s AD card from the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, which Hiddink gave him when he left Korea.
After the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, Hiddink was officially dismissed and Park Hang-seo was appointed head coach for the 2002 Busan Asian Games, held the same year.
The tournament was a disappointment, but Park would go on to become a coach and then a leader.
He led Vietnam to the first FIFA World Cup final qualification in the country’s history, the first Asian Games quarterfinals after Vietnam’s reunification, and the first Southeast Asian Games title in 60 years. ….
Park returns to Vietnam with a long list of accomplishments. This is all in less than five years since he took over as head coach in 2017.
Park Hang-seo created the “Papa Leadership” syndrome in Vietnam.
When he first traveled to Vietnam, Park’s solution to the lack of communication was “skinship”.
However, it had to be based on trust, and to build that trust, he decided to become a “one-man team” with the players.
He was thoroughly respectful of the Vietnamese culture. He enjoyed the local food and followed the same rules as they did, such as no cell phones during meals and punctuality.
During training, he was like a strict teacher, but afterward, he would massage their feet and take care of their personal matters. He became an affectionate “papa” to the Vietnamese players.
At the 2018 Asian Games, Vietnam’s boat also played against South Korea.
“The Vietnamese players were already intimidated because Son Heung-min was coming,” Park recalled in a broadcast. But he said, “Don’t be afraid,” and rallied the players.
The result was a 3:1 victory for South Korea, who went on to win the gold medal at the tournament, but Vietnam, who were aiming for the round of 16, achieved their best ever Asian Games soccer quarterfinal finish.
As a national soccer hero, Park was showered with gifts.
He was the first foreigner to be awarded the Second Class Labor Medal by the President of Vietnam, and when his mother celebrated her 100th birthday, he personally delivered a congratulatory gift.
Vietnamese airlines also pledged to provide him with free business tickets for life.
In 2022, a commemorative coin to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Vietnam will feature Park’s quote, “Don’t hang your head because you’ve done your best.”
Previously, Park had encouraged the Vietnamese players to “do not hang your head down because you have done your best” after their disappointing runner-up finish to Uzbekistan at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship.
The quote was later quoted as the subject of a Vietnamese high school essay exam.
His time as a national soccer team coach may be over, but Park Hang-seo is now looking to nurture Vietnam’s youth soccer talent.
He recently launched the Park Hang Seo International Football Academy in Vietnam. Under the slogan “Children are the future of society,” the academy is the first in Vietnam to establish an advanced youth system that collaborates with schools and educational facilities.
The Park Hang Seo International Football Academy, which held its official launch event in Hanoi in August, aims to bring an advanced youth football system to Vietnam, starting with primary schools, where Vietnamese children can experience, learn and grow in football 스포츠토토.
Park was also honored this year as the recipient of the 17th Pony Chung Innovation Award. Named after the late HDC Group (formerly Hyundai Industrial Development Company) Chairman Emeritus Chung Se-Young, the founder of Hyundai Motor Company, the award recognizes individuals who have made a positive difference in society through innovative thinking.
Park became the first soccer player to receive the award for his role in building bridges of friendship between the two countries by leading Vietnam’s men’s national soccer team to its highest-ever performance since he took over as head coach.
◈ Vietnamese soccer hero→ Entertainment newbie cutie♥
Currently, Park Hang-seo is exuding frank and humanized charm through entertainment programs.
In tvN’s “Three Million Years Ago Wild Exploration: Son Doong Cave,” he travels to Vietnam to explore an uncharted cave alongside Lee Dong-hwan, Kim Nam-il, Choo Sung-hoon, and Kim Dong-joon.
“This expedition is the overtime of my life’s soccer game, and I definitely don’t think we will fail in this journey.”
Park Hang-seo said before the caving expedition. Like a sportsman, he was also competitive in entertainment.
However, in contrast to his charismatic determination, he has been making viewers laugh by showing his vulnerability before the expedition, such as being afraid of encountering snakes and being constantly teased by the younger members.
At the same time, Park Hang Seo showed his leadership behind the scenes by taking the initiative to do the hard work for the team, reminding us that he is still Papa Park Hang Seo!
Park Hang-seo will also be appearing in soccer shows.
In the trailer for the upcoming soccer show “Unite!” which is scheduled to air in October, he is seen auditioning as a volunteer. In the video, his best friend Lee Dong-hwan drops him, raising expectations for what kind of “tiff-tastic chemistry” the two will show.
Today, the little soccer giant is still there, doing his best and smelling the roses.