Park Joo-ho (36) reflects on his playing career.
Suwon FC lost 1-3 against Ulsan Hyundai in the 17th round of the Hana One Q K League 1 at Suwon Sports Complex on June 6.
On this day, former international and Suwon FC captain Park Ju-ho hung up his cleats. Park Joo-ho started the game and gave his all in the final match, showing his true colors.
In his post-match interview, Park said, “It wasn’t easy to decide to retire during the season. But once I made the decision, I felt at ease. It would have been nice to have gotten the result today, but I have no regrets and can say that I did my best in my career,” he said.
The following is a one-on-one interview with Park.
Q. How did you feel about your decision to retire?
▶It wasn’t easy to decide to retire during the season. But once I made the decision, I felt at ease. It would have been nice to get the result today, but I have no regrets and can say that I did my best during my career.
Q. How would you rate your soccer career?
I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, and I’ve taken on challenges. My personality is such that I don’t have any regrets. When I was a player, I would give myself a 60 or 70, but today I would give myself a 100 because I think I finished with no regrets.
Q. How did you make the decision to retire?
I’ve been thinking about retirement since last year, when I was playing when my body was a little better. I wanted to retire on the field. Last year, my wife wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t want to retire because of her. For this season, I thought it would be too much, so I made the decision.
Q. The team is at the bottom of the standings, and it must be a heavy feeling to retire.
It’s not light. However, when I announced my retirement to the team, we were in fifth place without losing four games. I thought the juniors could play a different style than me, so I told them in advance. Then we lost back-to-back games, but I think we showed today that we have the strength to keep winning in the future.
Q. What was your favorite moment in your soccer career, and what was the worst?
I think the happiest moments were in the K League. When we won the Asian Champions League with Ulsan. Even though we lost today, it was a really happy moment. I also remember when we went to the top split last year. A bad memory was when we finished runners-up in our last game of 2019 in Ulsan. Other than that, I don’t really have any bad memories.
Q. Have you told your teammates about your decision to retire?
I didn’t tell other players or teammates about my retirement. I only told my friend Lee Yi-yong after I made the decision. I didn’t tell the players until after the Jeonbuk game. I didn’t tell the players until after Jeonbuk. I told them after the Jeonbuk game because I heard rumors were circulating. I wanted to tell them in person rather than in an article. I discussed it with my family and company. But above all, my own decision was the most important. 스포츠토토
Q. What kind of soccer player do you think you were?
I think I was a player who always changed styles, which is why many managers wanted to play me. I think I did my best to fit in with the team and do the best I could under the circumstances.
Q. I heard that fans from overseas sent you messages about your retirement.
I was grateful for the messages from overseas. My teammates contacted me, and I talked to a friend in Japan. The friend I’m talking about is Shinji Kagawa, and we’re the same age, so I think we shared a common understanding. Coach Sergio Costa, who I worked with at the World Cup in Qatar, also contacted me. Sergio Costa, who I played with at the World Cup in Qatar, contacted me and said that I was a player who made him a good memory.
Q, will you be able to spend more time with your family?
There were situations where I had to be away for a month or two when I had to go to training camp, and during the week of a match, I was away for two or three days, which I felt bad about. I think I’ll be able to spend more time with them in the future.
Q. What did Na-eun and Geon-hoo say about their father’s retirement?
When I told Naeun-i and Geon-hoo, they were both sad. In the case of Na-eun, she said, “What are you going to make money with now?” (laughs). He also said, “Don’t cook. Gunwoo is into soccer, so he cried about my retirement. He said, “Why did you quit? But when I said, “I can spend a lot of time playing soccer with you instead,” he was happy.
Q. What are some of your memorable moments with Suwon FC?
▶I remember our first win against Ulsan. Last year’s game against Pohang, where we won despite losing possession. I also remember the 4-3 win against FC Seoul, a game we hadn’t won before.
Q. What are your future plans?
▶I think I need to organize myself. I don’t have anything set in stone yet. I’ll spend June with my family and see what I can do.
Q. Your teammates must have been very supportive.
▶They’ve been urging me, and I’m grateful for that, but the funny part is that they’ve been saying, ‘You can take a break, take six months, and then come back like (Jo) Won Hee-hyung’ (laughs).
Q. The Ulsan players must have told a lot of stories.
▶The Ulsan players said, ‘We suffered. It’s no one else’s business,’ and I didn’t talk to them much today because it was after the game, but I got a lot of messages yesterday.