When Shin Tae-yong named his 28-man preliminary squad for the World Cup on Monday morning at KFA House in downtown Seoul, there were plenty of surprises on the roster (which, let’s be honest, was a positive thing since Shin’s previous selections had been getting stale and filled with the same underwhelming defenders). However, the biggest surprise came in the midfield as Moon Seon-min earned his first call-up to the senior national team. Many at the Tavern reacted with “Moon Seon-who?” and admitted they knew very little about him, but not this guy! As a proud Incheon United fan (check my avatar), Moon has been lighting it up for Incheon in the K League and fully deserves this call-up. So let’s get to know this quick and creative left winger who has an outside shot to make the World Cup squad.
Nike’s the Chance
Moon Seon-min spent his youth career most likely as a talented player that was overlooked by scouts in Korea. He played for Janghoon High School’s team but doesn’t have mention of any K League youth sides or anything like that. He also played with the KNT’s U-17 side in 2009. However, he probably didn’t get many good offers to play at a Korean university team or K League side but felt he was good enough to go pro so he did just that. He tried out for Nike’s The Chance program, which was a trial contest that offered the chance to win a spot at the Nike Academy in England. Here’s a video of his highlights from that contest.
After winning a spot at the Nike Academy to train, he was noticed by Swedish scouts and offered a contract to Ostersunds FK, who were in the Swedish third tier in 2012 when he joined. Ostersunds FK recently played Arsenal in the Europa League round of 32, so the club has risen quite a bit. After winning player of the year with Ostersunds, he signed for Djurgardens of the Allvenskan, the top Swedish division, in 2015 but didn’t find as much success. Before the 2017 season in Korea, with his European prospects drying up and homesickness settling in, he signed for Incheon United and has been a regular in their line-ups ever since. Last season he struggled to help the team and Incheon struggled mightily but this season has been another story. With Stefan Mugosa and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi partnering him in attack, Moon has been playing well and has notched 6 goals and 3 assists so far this season. Yes, Incheon are languishing in 11th place thanks to a leaky defense, but Moon has been involved in every Incheon attacking move and is on form. I couldn’t find a highlights video I like but suffice it to say, if you’re looking for Incheon highlights, Moon will be involved.
Why did Shin pick him?
Well, this is a funnier question. According to Shin, Moon will bring knowledge of the Swedish footballing style from his time playing there. That is either PR fluff or the delusions of a manager who really thinks that will help him succeed against Sweden. Either way, Shin has stumbled upon one of the most in-form Korean attackers of the K League season. That’s not a bad thing at all. Moon plays as a left winger, he likes to cut in towards the goal, and he has some finishing skills. He has the speed to get by defenders and he has some skill moves in his locker. Is he a breakout star at this World Cup? Probably not. Is he going to make the World Cup squad? Also, probably not. Does he deserve to be in the 28-man squad? Yes. What he does with that is up to him.
Love this! So awesome to hear about the players nobody knows/talks about. The KLeague has untapped resources, but as we all know the general public doesn’t give two shits about it. Great to have a fan like you on the ground to give us this insight, because I wouldn’t have known anything about him since I’m in the U.S.
Whenever I was in Korea, I loved going to KLeague games, and I remember having a couple favorite players who I hoped would get called up to the national team or move to Europe so I felt like I was seeing a young talent in front of my eyes. But it was definitely disheartening when there was nobody in the stands. On top of that, when there’s a post about the KNT at the Tavern, the comments section lights up; anything about the KLeague, and you’ll be lucky if there’s one comment. If the KLeague can just get more interest and more competition, the national team will improve so much.
Here’s hoping this guy makes his mark at the WC! As good as Son and Ki are individually, we really need some fresh blood to mix things up since the KNT has been so bad for way too long.
I’m with you 100%! Definitely keep up with our friends at K League United for all that K League news that we can’t get to here at the Tavern. With Moon, I’m hoping he takes his chance and impresses at the upcoming friendlies because he really has been playing great this season for Incheon. I was so surprised to see his name on the squad but really happy for him!
Though we don’t write about it very much here (our audience is certainly more gyopo-focused), a strong domestic league is crucial to a strong national team. Not only are they the players who can go to Europe later in their careers (we’re excluding the wonderkids here), they’re also the ones that stoke interest for football in Korea, drive fans to games, and ultimately more revenue for clubs and the KFA. I’m rooting for Moon Seon-min to make it. Would be a great story.
EDIT by admin: You’ve been blacklisted by Tavern police & have gotten yourself a nice ban from the comments section. Once you’re ready to stop being an ass, let us know and we can give you Tavern parole. Jalgaseyo!
Be gone, you shitty troll.