Jeonbuk Hyundai Technical Director Park Ji-sung has some advice for Asian players looking to make it to Europe: learn the language.
The AFC released a wide-ranging interview with Park on Wednesday. In the interview, which appears to have been conducted before and after the draw for the 메이저사이트 2023 AFC Qatar Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, Park explained why he chose to become a football administrator rather than a manager. As one of the most successful Asian players in Europe, he also has some advice for Asian players looking to break into the big leagues in the future.
“Usually, soccer players become managers after retirement, but I didn’t think it was the right fit for me. I still wanted to work in soccer, so I focused on the administrative side. I spent some time studying sports management, which helped me learn about Asian grassroots and youth soccer structures,” he says.
“There is a lot of untapped talent in Asia. I realized that by improving the youth structure, we can provide the right environment for future generations. If we invest resources in the youth system like we do in Europe and South America, I’m sure Asia will produce many great players in the future.”
When Park looked at the managers who coached him, such as Gus Hiddink and Alex Ferguson, he marveled at their leadership and said it was something he could never do.
When asked why he didn’t want to be a manager, Park said, “They both had a special way of communicating with their players. They were able to make them follow instructions and motivate them to give 100%. Their communication skills were unbelievable. We have over 20 players in the first team, but only 11 start, so we have to manage all the other players who don’t play. It’s a really difficult job and something I didn’t think I could do,” he said. His ‘gifts’ were actually a reason why he shouldn’t be coaching.
His advice to younger players looking to make it to Europe is to learn the language. “Europe is completely different from Asia. “If you go straight to Europe, it can be difficult because you don’t have the experience of living in a different country,” he said, adding that his experience in the Japanese J-League at the beginning of his career was very helpful.
“My advice to anyone going overseas is to learn the language first. If you can speak a European language, you can talk to anyone on the team. It doesn’t matter if it’s English, Portuguese, or French,” he said.
“Back then, no one told me I needed to learn a language. In the Netherlands, there were Dutch classes for foreigners and I personally learned English, so when I went to England, the little bit of English I spoke helped me a lot to communicate with the players and adapt to their culture,” he says, emphasizing that language acquisition is something that must be done, even if no one is trying to stop you.