“The athletes know. How important the Asian Games are…” (Baek Seung-ho)
Jeonbuk won 2-0 against Incheon United in the 25th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Jeonju World Cup Stadium at 7 p.m. on June 6.
Back-to-back goals from Park Jae-yong in the 14th minute and Han Gyo-won in the 44th minute gave Jeonbuk its first win since the break and a bounce-back win over Pohang. With the win, Jeonbuk leapfrogged Gwangju to move back into third place (12 W, 4 D, 9 L, 40 points).
Baek Seung-ho started the match off the bench, coming on for Song Min-gyu in the 17th minute and creating several chances, including tying for the most key passes (2) on the team with Boateng. However, he was unable to capitalize on his chances and did not record any offensive points.
For Baek, the second half of 2023 will be crucial for his football career. His career to date has taken many twists and turns, including reaching the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and scoring his first goal on the World Cup stage with a stunning volley in the round of 16 against Brazil.
After being suspended by FIFA from Barcelona’s academy, Baek Seung-ho was unable to develop at the high school level and joined Jeonbuk through Girona (Spain) and Darmstadt (Germany). He gradually increased his playing time and earned a call-up to the national team.
Looking back on his time at Jeonbuk, Baek Seung-ho says, “I haven’t changed much from before,” but “I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in terms of my performance by playing a lot of games. I’ve never played this much since I came to the pros, but my performance and stamina have improved a lot. The coach keeps changing, so I think it has an effect on my play. I’m getting a lot more comfortable with my physical strength and performance.”
For Baek Seung-ho, the future is more important. Named as a wildcard (players aged 23 and over) to Hwang Sun-hong’s Asian Games men’s soccer team, Baek Seung-ho needs to win a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games to be eligible for military service. On the same team are Park Jin-seop (also a wildcard) and Kim Jung-hoon, who have the same goal as Baek Seung-ho. Of course, Kim has already fulfilled his military service through the Gimcheon Sangmu.
Speaking about the Asian Games, Baek Seung-ho said, “Winning a gold medal at the Asian Games would be a turning point. Not only me, but also the three wildcards and the rest of the players are more eager than anyone else and are working hard to prepare for a real gold medal.” “Tomorrow we may not be able to go, but we have a call-up,” he said.
“They know how life-changing it is to win a real gold medal 꽁머니. That’s why (the Asian Games) is so important,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Asian Games squad, along with the U-22 squad, minus overseas players and those participating in the FA Cup, will be training at the Paju National Training Center (NFC) from July 7 to 9.