No regrets. Park Joo-ho (36) wrapped up his final press conference as a player with a smile at his retirement press conference.
Suwon FC lost 1-3 to Ulsan Hyundai in the 17th round of the Hana WonQ K League 1 2023 at Suwon Sports Complex at 4:30 p.m. on June 6.
It was a farewell match for the veteran midfielder. Park Ju-ho retired after the match against Ulsan. Park started with Mito Holyhawk in Japan in 2008 and played for Kashima Antlers, Jubilo Iwata, and FC Basel in Switzerland. He also played for Mainz and Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga, earning the trust of European soccer great Thomas Tuchel.
Since the 2018 season, he has been playing domestically. He played for Ulsan for three seasons and has been a mainstay in the Suwon FC midfield since the 2021 season. He has been a key midfielder under Kim Do-gyun and has been the engine of Suwon FC.
Park recently announced his intention to retire, saying on his personal YouTube channel, “I want to leave the field while I’m at my best.” Coach Kim Do-gyun, along with Lee Seung-woo and Lee Yong-soo, expressed their sincere regret and support for Park’s unexpected retirement.
Before the game, players from both teams wore t-shirts commemorating Park’s retirement to show their respect. The Suwon FC and Ulsan fans chanted Park’s name. After the retirement ceremony, the game got underway. In the sixth minute of the first half, there was a one-minute applause in honor of Park’s number 6. Both Suwon FC and Ulsan fans applauded and cheered Park generously.
Coincidentally, Park ended his professional career with a match against his hometown team, Ulsan. After playing 90 minutes against Ulsan, Park held a post-match press conference to announce his retirement. “It was hard to decide to retire in the middle of the season, but I have no regrets. The result of the match was unfortunate. I did my best against Ulsan. I think I did my best to finish my 16-year professional career.”
Here’s a Q&A with Park Joo-ho.
- How many points would you give to your career total of 100?
“I kept realizing that I had a goal. I kept challenging myself. I have no regrets. When I was a player, I gave myself a 6 or 70. Today, I have no regrets. I’d give him a 100.”
On when he decided to retire.
“I’ve been thinking about retirement since last year. I wanted to retire from the sport when my body was a little better. Last year, my wife wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t want it to look like I was retiring because of her. When I thought about whether I would still have the passion, I felt overwhelmed.”
Suwon FC is in the midst of its season.
“When I announced my retirement to the team, they were in fifth place. I thought they could do it without me. (Lee) Young-jae is coming in the summer. It’s a different style, but he can play a role. We can strengthen in the summer transfer market. It was hard for the team after I announced my retirement, but we also won the Suwon derby.”
- On his happiest and most difficult moments
“My happiest moment was when we won the ACL with Ulsan, and it’s still one of my favorite moments today. I was also happy when I scored a lot of goals in the top split last year,” he says. “A sad memory is when Ulsan finished runner-up in 2019, but I can’t think of anything else.”
On where he sought retirement advice.
“After I made the decision, I told my friend Lee (Lee Yong). I didn’t tell him until after the game against Jeonbuk Hyundai. After the game against Jeonbuk, I heard that there were rumors of retirement. That’s when I decided it was right to tell the players directly. I also talked to my family and company a lot. My will was the most important thing.”
- What kind of player was he?
“I was always changing my style. That’s why so many coaches used me. I did the best I could with what I was given.”
You must have gotten a lot of calls after your decision to retire.
“There were placards in Mito. A friend in Japan saw the news and contacted me. I had a heart-to-heart with Shinji Kagawa. We’re the same age, so we talked about when to retire. Coach Sergio, who was my coach at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, also contacted me. He thanked me and said he had a lot of good memories of me. The players have also contacted me, but I haven’t finished reading their messages yet. We’ll talk about it later.”
How he talked to Better and Gunhu.
“When I was sad, I would ask them, ‘What are you going to do with the money?’ I hugged him and told him it was hard. I told him to do other things, but not to cook. Jianhu is into soccer these days. He was very sad and wanted to cry. But I told him that he could spend a lot of time playing soccer with you, so he was happy.”
On memories with Suwon FC.
“We got our first win against Ulsan. We didn’t win against the Pohang Steelers and finally won last year. Winning a game we hadn’t won is my favorite memory. The 4-3 win against FC Seoul is also memorable.”
On his future plans.
“I think I need to get organized. I don’t have anything set in stone. In June, I will spend time with my family and organize my schedule.”
- On the disappointment of his teammates, including Lee Seung-woo.
토토사이트 “The players were very supportive. I’m grateful for their support. I said I’m sorry, but I can’t change it. They told me to take a break and come back like (Cho) Won Hee-hyung. They said they wouldn’t think of me as retired for now.”
The Ulsan players also talked a lot.
“They said that Ulsan players suffered. They sympathized with me, saying it was no one else’s business. I got a lot of calls the day before, including Lee Cheong-yong. We spoke on the phone.”
“I’m grateful that so many people came until the end. I hope you will continue to visit Suwon FC in the future.”