The Curious Case of Park Eun-Seon (update 2)

So, a rather bizarre story has broken in, of all places, the WK-League. That would be the women’s K League. A certain player, one Park Eun-Seon of Seoul City, has been accused of . . . being a man.

So incensed are the other six league teams about this “injustice” that they are seriously talking about boycotting next year’s season if Seoul continues to field Park. What makes this story even stranger (and disgusting) and juvenile, is that Park is not a new player who Seoul suddenly brought onto the scene. Park is 27 and is a senior level international for South Korea who played at the 2003 World Cup, 2004 Olympics, and 2005 Asian Games. The reason for the sudden claims of “manliness”? Seoul has done well this season. A second place finish, and Park has been a big part of that chipping in 19 goals.

Physically, Park is big. 1.80 meters and 74 kilos (that would be 5’9″ and 163 pounds for us Americans), and while that may not seem like a giant, consider that the current women’s star striker, Ji So-Yeon, weighs in at 1.61 meters and 50 kilos (5’3″ and 110 pounds), and veteran defender Lee Eun-Mi comes in at 1.66 meters (5’4.5″, weight undisclosed), and you start to see why Park is such a presence and handful for defenders.

In the end, what it comes down to is either Park Eun-Seon has been fooling FIFA, the KFA, the IOC, and the WK-League for years and there has been a massive cover up to get her/him in, or the other clubs are jealous/angry that Seoul has a player who can dominate their teams. I tend to think it’s the latter. As such, this story shouldn’t have the weight and attention it seems to be getting. ‘박은선 남자’ and ‘박은선’ (Park Eun-Seon man/Park Eun-Seon) have shot up to the top of the search engine rankings on Korea’s biggest search portals Daum and Naver as of writing.

Seoul City is absolutely right in claiming that the claims of the opposing clubs are “ludicrous” as the teams dont’ seem to be interested in “justice” or “fairness”. In their statement, the opposing clubs are simply saying, either she’s out next season or we are. They are not calling for Park to be tested, to see if she is a man or not, just get her out. And for me that says all that needs to be said. The rest of the clubs are whining about a player who is simply too strong and powerful for their team to deal with.

Get over it.

Park Eun-Seon of Seoul City. Photo courtesy of The Korea Times
Park Eun-Seon of Seoul City. Photo courtesy of The Korea Times

An update on this story as more information has come out. The other clubs reportedly are asking for a gender examination. Their reasoning is that despite only being 27, and a clearly dominant physical player, the Korean women’s team has not called her up, therefore something must be strange. Apparently before the 2010 Asian Games, China said they would request a gender examination if Korea brought her, and Korea subsequently dropped her from the squad. That action would hint that something may be afoot, but Park has claimed that she has been gender tested numerous times prior to the World Cup, Olympics, and other events and has never “failed”. The complaining teams have made their position known to the KFA and women’s league, but have not formally filed their complaint yet. Watch this space for updates.

Update 2 – Seoul City (the team) has officially lodged a complaint with the KFA/WK League about what is happening and a demanding the other coaches formally make a public apology to Park. The team is also threatening a lawsuit against the other coaches/teams on human rights violations. Seoul City requested that the KFA release the results of the gender test that Park Eun-Seon underwent back in 2004 (which presumably showed she is a woman), but it has apparently been “lost”.

The six teams that threatened the boycott have since tried to back off of their claims/demands in the face of mounting public criticism, saying that it was just gossip/a joke, but in a press conference yesterday the Seoul City coach, Seo Jung-Ho produced an official list of items discussed at the meeting where it came up, and on it is the idea of forcing Park Eun-Seon out. Suwon FMC coach Lee Sung-Gyeon has offered to resign from his position as he was the one who had arranged the meeting between the six teams. Seo has also admitted that he fears that Park will quit football as she repeatedly has had to face this ridiculous question, Park however has said that she will not.

About Jae Chee 339 Articles
A football fan who got bit by the writing bug.


  1. The picture makes it seem as if the accusations from the other clubs are true but I won’t make any hasty conclusions. What a weird and bizarre topic.

    • Her picture does look a bit masculine, but I won’t judge her on that. Certainly she’s an oddity in terms of her physical size. But the fact that the other clubs don’t want to test her, just get her out of the league, says a lot to me. They don’t really care if it’s true or not, they don’t want her to compete.

      • Thanks for bringing some proper human perspective to the story. As you say, the fact that she’s been playing competitive football for a decade should bring clarity to a manufactured accusation by the other clubs. It’s insane what some proven women athletes have to deal with. If I’m not mistaken, this trumped up issue came up for other women athletes in the last summer Olympics for… an African nation I think? …but the names all escape me.

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