Lee Jung-hyo, 48, has chosen to “accompany Gwangju FC for a long time.” What are the immediate tasks ahead of him?
On the 13th, Gwangju announced, “Coach Lee Jung-hyo will stay with the club until 2027. It is the longest contract since the club’s founding.” His previous contract ran until 2024.월카지노
Details of the contract, including salary, were not disclosed, but according to soccer circles, it is the third highest in the country after Ulsan Hyundai coach Hong Myung-bo and Pohang Steelers coach Kim Ki-dong, who is leaving for FC Seoul.
Lee took over as Gwangju’s seventh head coach in December 2021 and led the club to the K League 2 title in 2022. His meteoric rise didn’t stop there. In 2023, he led Gwangju to a third-place finish in the K League 1. It was the highest finish in the club’s history. Gwangju also became the first club to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (ACLE).
The immediate task for Lee, who has been in charge of the team for a long time, is to protect the “bones” of the squad.
With Gwangju’s rapid rise to prominence, many other clubs are coveting their key players.
“The players have grown a lot,” Lee Jung-hyo told reporters at the Hana OneQ K League Grand Award Ceremony in Seoul on April 4, adding, “Their status and interest in the club have also increased. If you always do well, there are more clubs that take young players. It’s a vicious cycle of buying and selling players. I hope the bones of the squad remain the same. If you look at Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul) and Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), they went to other clubs (after being in Gwangju) and are shining. If those players had stayed, how good of a synergy they would have had with the current players. It’s sad to think about that. I want to keep the bones of the team,” he said.
Lee can’t help but think of strategies to protect his players. “I don’t have a special strategy, but I will continue to find ways to keep the players working hard on the field. It will create opportunities for them to grow.”
Along with solving immediate challenges, Lee also has to think about the big picture. “I want to give the players the feeling that ‘if they learn soccer from me, they will grow,'” he emphasized. He wants to continue to motivate the players and improve the team’s cohesion.
[OSEN=Suwon, Park Jun-hyung]Gwangju FC’s Lee Sun-min tries to shoot in the second half 2023.02.25 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Indeed, Lee Soon-min, who became the nucleus of Gwangju’s “defense” under Lee Jeong-hyo, was called up by Jürgen Klinsmann, who is now in charge of the Korean national team, and has been playing consistently in A matches, albeit for a small amount of time, since September against Wales. The implications are significant. It suggests that if Lee Jung-hyo trusts him, he can earn the Taeguk mark.
Also, the fact that Gwangju produced the K League 2 Player of the Year (Um Ji Sung) last season and the K League 1 Young Player of the Year (Jeong Ho-yeon) this season may be an incentive for players to follow Lee’s lead.
Lee Jeong-hyo, who has to draw a big picture starting with ‘protecting players’ amid the ‘club’s first long-term contract’ unconventional sponsorship, will convene the team on January 3 next year and leave for winter training in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The team will begin preparations for the new season in earnest.