06.19 Wed


Incheon United send their man to Tottenham

Mr. Chang has a special dream. He hopes to become a member of FIFA’s group of top soccer analysts.
Jan 29,2007
The manager of Incheon United FC, Chang Woe-ryong, 48, left Korea last Thursday to study in Britain. After renewing his contract at the end of 2006, the professional soccer team promised him one year of overseas study at the end of last year. This is the first time that a Korean professional soccer team has sent a coach abroad for a whole year of overseas study. The soccer team, which is owned by the citizens of Incheon, said they were expressing their gratitude to Mr. Chang for reviving the team.
“I’ll try to understand latest trends in soccer by watching world-class games,” Mr. Chang said. “I will look at how the English Premier League is operated, the players are trained and marketing activities are done.”
Despite a shortage of financing, Incheon came second in the 2005 K-league and entered the semifinal of the 2006 Korean FA Cup under Mr. Chang’s leadership. The team, which is owned by 47,000 Incheon citizens who became shareholders in 2004, recorded a profit of 500 million won ($526,000) last year, showing that professional soccer teams can be run at a profit, even if their budget for players is small.
Mr. Chang said he is going live in an area of London where there are not many Koreans, because he wants to practice his English. He said he is going to concentrate on learning English for the next three months.
At the end of last year, he went to a private English academy to achieve some proficiency in English. “I was told I should begin from the very bottom level,” he said with a laugh.
When he thinks he is ready to communicate in English, he plans to select a soccer team and pursue his studies although he has been told it will be difficult for him to study with a Premier League team, despite his request to the Korea Football Association that they arrange such a placement.
For now, he is considering Tottenham Hotspur, where Lee Young-pyo plays. He hopes to take part in coaching at the team’s youth camp, to which some young Korean players have been invited to train.
Mr. Chang graduated from Gyeongseong Middle and High schools and Yonsei University and played defense at the Daewoo Royals for a while, but he was never a star. After retirement, he went to study coaching in Japan and obtained the “S” license, the highest grade of soccer coaching certificate given in that country.
In 2004, when Incheon United was founded, he took the assistant coach position and became the manager in the following year. Though the team did not win the K-league in 2005, journalists voted to give him the best coach of the year award.
Mr. Chang has a special dream. He hopes to become a member of the Technical Study Group of FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. The study group consists of top soccer analysts from all over the world.
“If I study hard for 10 years, I think I would be able to achieve that goal,” he said. “It is for the sake of Korean soccer and its future progress.”
Mr. Chang will also act as a correspondent for the JoongAng Ilbo and the Sports Daily while he is staying in Britain.

By Jeong Young-jae JoongAng Ilbo [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]
All News