FIFA has yet to reverse their youth players ruling, but it cannot keep them from participating in tournaments. So when Barcelona Cadete A (‘97) was invited to play in the Trofeo città di San Bonifacio in Italy, along with the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal, and all the top Italian teams, Cadete A brought their banned players Paik Seung Ho and Theo Chendri, as well as Cadete B (‘98) players Lee Seung Woo and Jang Gyeol Hee.
Paik wore the #10 jersey and Jang wore #18. Lee wore #19, the number he wears for every tournament. They haven’t played a competitive match for more than a month, yet they were still fresh and at the best of their abilities.
Despite losing to Milan 3-1 in the group stages, where Paik scored the only goal from the penalty spot, Barcelona managed to reach the final against Inter Milan. Lee was the only one to start, but by the middle of the second half all three of our Korean players were on the pitch at the same time. After extra time the game was still tied 0-0, and in the penalty shootout Barca prevailed 4-2. Lee scored the second penalty, and Paik struck the winning penalty.
At the end of the tournament Lee Seung Woo was named MVP and Top Scorer. The same two awards he won in just every competition he has been involved in (the winter tourney in Italy, the one in Sweden, the Mallorca Cup, the torneo reino de leon, etc.). Except this time he outshined players older than him, even Cadete A’s star player Sergi Canos. It even won him a profile page on this Italian talent scout site titled “Il paradiso dei talent scout,” which is linked in the Trofeo San Bonifacio news page about Lee’s achievements : http://www.trofeosanbonifacio.com/news/lee-seung-woo-miglior-giocatore-del-torneo~124.html
FIFA may keep Lee, Jang, and Paik out of league play, but cannot suppress their immense potential.